Pupils sample university life

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Testing future . . . Columba College pupil Jordan Summers (left) works with Sophie Downing (17), of Napier, to test deer serum for tuberculosis during an immunology course at the Hands-On Otago residential camp this week. PHOTO: JOHN LEWIS

Testing Fiordland deer for tuberculosis, getting an insight into how the criminal mind works, or learning to play jazz guitar – there was something to inspire every young mind at this year’s Hands-On Otago event.

More than 360 senior secondary school pupils from 167 schools around the country were selected to study a range of topics, interact with researchers and learn about their discoveries at the residential camp over the past week, in a bid to give them a taste of student life at the University of Otago.

Among them was Columba College year 13 pupil Jordan Summers (16) who attended a range of courses, including one in immunology which showed her how to do an interferon gamma Elisa deer has tuberculosis or not.

“It’s been very inspiring.

“I’ve used some of the equipment at school, like the pipettes, but some of the equipment here is completely new to me.

“It’s way more technical that you should play with.”

She said the Hands-On immunology course was a great way to see if it was a possible career path for her.

“It’s good to get a feel for the course.

“It’s been really interesting and fun meeting heaps of new people and the courses have been really good.

“I’m looking to see if there’s a possible career in this area.”

The camp was open to selected high-achieving pupils who will be in years 12 or 13 this year.

Each was able to choose five projects across a wide range of subjects, including anatomy, archaeology, biochemistry, chemistry, economics, genetics, geography, geology, immunology, information science, international business, languages and cultures, law, marketing, media and communications, microbiology, music, pharmacology and toxicology, philosophy, physics, politics, sociology, gender studies, criminology and social work, sport and exercise science, theatre and dance, and zoology.

The camp finishes tomorrow.