Larbert pupil embarks on US science journey

The future is looking bright for Larbert High School pupil Isla Keenan who has secured an online place working with a top American science school’s Global STEM Alliance (GSA).

Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 9:58 am

Fifteen-year-old Isla, who lives in Kinnaird, applied for the programme, run by the New York Academy of Science’s Junior Academy, after seeing an advert about it on Instagram.

In order to be considered she had to fill out an application, write an essay and submit a teacher reference.

As a member of the Academy, Isla will have the opportunity to collaborate with 3000 students from 94 countries on virtual challenges sponsored by industry-leading companies.

The challenges are designed by the Academy’s education experts to help students develop 21st century skills as they prepare for jobs of the future.

Isla explained: “I am in the Junior Academy for 11 to 18 year olds.

“How it works is you get put into teams with other students from all over the world and you meet online via a Launchpad platform to discuss how to complete interesting challenges between now and December. You also get a mentor to help you.

“The challenges I am working on with my team are space colonisation and intelligent homes and health and if our work is shortlisted we will be invited to New York.

“I think taking part in this programme will help inspire me when the time comes for me to apply to university next year. I am really interested in STEM subjects and I also like computing, technology and languages.

“The programme is great because it enables me to connect with like-minded people and also professionals from all over the world, some as far away as New Zealand, Tunisia and California.

Physics teacher Ashifa Naseer, who is also Principal teacher of Science at Larbert High School supplied Isla with the reference needed for her application.

She said: “Taking part in this programme will help Isla further develop her problem solving and research skills and she will get the opportunity to work with inspiring STEM industry professionals. It really is a fantastic opportunity.”

Physics teacher Ashifa Naseer, who is also Principal teacher of Science at Larbert High School supplied Isla with the reference needed for her application.

She said: “Everyone at the school is very proud of Isla especially as she applied for this off her own back and is the first person at the school to take part in this programme.

“Isla is a very independent student and very self motivated and I think that taking part in this programme will help her to further develop her problem solving and research skills.

“It will also give her the opportunity to work with inspiring STEM industry professionals. It really is a fantastic opportunity.”