Mackenzie Buick and Taylor Green could be the next top brain surgeon and environmental scientist after both receiving unique opportunities through Warkworth Rotary.
The pair both presented at a rotary function on May 24, after Mackenzie attended the Science and Technology Forum and Taylor the Rotary Young-person Leadership Awards (RYLA) programme.
Mackenzie, 17, is a Year 13 student at Mahurangi College and is studying the three sciences, calculus and English.
Keen to study medicine at Auckland University, she applied to attend the forum to help her decide if that was definitely the right option for her.
“I learnt so much from the forum, and it only inspired me to want to do the course even more,” She says.
The forum saw 30 high school students all stay in O’Rorke Hall for one week and take part in a range of university activities.
“It certainly wasn’t for the squeamish. We looked at plasticised pickled brains to examine injury impact and dissected a sheep’s heart.
“There were a lot of cool projects like making a video game and robotic car controller, and even learning about 3D printing of human skin.”
She says the biggest challenge was having to be self-driven to ask questions in classes, as the lecturers would not help you along like a teacher at school.
“A lot of the content we covered was difficult, but I enjoyed taking on the challenge.”
Taylor, 23, is a past student of Auckland University with a BSc double major in biology and marine science, and a post graduate diploma in environmental management.
He applied for RYLA through Warkworth Rotary as his grandfather Jon Nicholson is a member.
The programme was held at Muriwai Surf Lifesaving Club over one week, with 37 participants between the ages of 20 and 28.
“Having finished my tertiary study I was looking for something that could build my confidence to compete in the adult world,” Taylor says.
The programme included confidence-building activities like rope climbing and search and rescue, and talks from a range of speakers.
Speakers included Partners Life managing director Naomi Ballantyne, Young New Zealander of the Year Rez Gardi and Paralympian Cam Calkoen.
“I think Cam was the most amazing for me. He was told he physically couldn’t run 100 metres faster than 14.5 seconds and got his time down to 12 seconds.”
Taylor is looking towards being involved with environmental projects for positive change.
“Getting to work with and listen to a variety of business-minded people taught me that an idea needs to be cost-effective, as well as smart, to make a good impact.”