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Eureka! Three Massey students compete for $10,000

Dr Luke Fullard, Brandon Jones, Lewis MacKinnon and Dr Carl Mesarich.

Three Massey University students will present their ideas for how science can benefit New Zealand as part of a national science competition.

The 2019 Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Awards asks secondary school pupils and tertiary undergraduate students to deliver a presentation on how the application of science or technology will benefit New Zealand’s economic, environmental and social wealth and wellbeing.

In the regional stage of the competition, Bachelor of Veterinary Science students Marie Potthoff and Lewis MacKinnon, and Bachelor of Science honours student Brandon Jones, were asked to present for six minutes. On Thursday, Dr Luke Fullard and Dr Carl Mesarich will accompany the students to the final in Wellington, where the students will have to present for 12 minutes.

Miss Potthoff will present Critical help: the role of artificial neural networks in staffing hospitals. In the regional competition, she won a gold scholarship from the Ministry of Social Development, and this is her second consecutive year in the final.

Mr MacKinnon received a $5000 gold scholarship from the Ministry of Primary Industries in the regional stage of the competition, and will present his talk, The viral bee crisis, and a freaky fungal solution.

Mr Jones will present Early detection of American Foulbrood using machine learning. He has also been shortlisted for a Department of Conservation internship.

Student supervisor Dr Mesarich says the students have achieved no small feat.

“This is a remarkable accomplishment as only six undergraduate students are accepted into the final, so 50 per cent of the spots went to Massey students. It also means that all of our students from the regional competitions over the past two years have made it to the final.”

The best presentation will be awarded the Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Premier Award and prize money of $10,000. Three participants will also receive highly commended awards and $5000. The remaining finalists each receive a merit award and $1500.

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