A passion for STEM paving a path for success

With a passion for STEM and an eagerness to discover “why things are the way they are”, the 2023 Glennie School Dux Imogen KIeidon achieved an ATAR of 99.75.

She shared some insights into her exceptional academic results, crediting an awareness of when to take a step back and look at the big picture and her support network as key factors.

Imogen has been part of a 2023 graduating cohort with the spirit, dedication and diverse talents positioned for remarkable success in their chosen paths. With an interest in medicine, and a particular passion for rural medicine; Imogen hopes to receive a place at UniQSQ’s medicine pathway completing three years of study at UniSQ and four years of study at the UQ rural clinical school.

This year, you received a great honour as a recipient of the Peter Doherty Award for Excellence in Science for your outstanding and innovative contribution to STEM education in Queensland. Can you tell us about this award and what it means to you?
The Peter Doherty Award for Excellence in STEM (student category) recognises approximately 10-12 Queensland Year 12 students every year for their outstanding and innovative contribution to STEM. I am incredibly honoured to have received this award as it allowed me to meet a Nobel Prize Laureate, Peter Doherty, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. It allowed me to network with many scientific and medical professionals, whom I aspire to be like in my future career.

What has been the secret ingredient in achieving your exceptional academic results?
My secret ingredient has been the support my Mum has given me over the years. When people ask me how I do well, they expect me to say that I study a lot, or I have some super secret study hack that helps me remember everything. Those things can help, but they mean nothing without having someone who is with you through thick and thin, someone to tell you when to calm down, and someone to tell you to get up and keep going. For me, that’s been my Mum, and I urge everyone to find someone who can do that for them.

What advice would you give to other students who are finding their academic workload challenging?
It’s important to take a step back and look at the big picture. Especially before exams, you might be trying to work on everything at once, skipping between different subjects and not doing a whole lot of anything. To overcome this, try to step back, and spend some time identifying what needs to be done by when, and what things need to take priority. And if you don’t feel like doing anything that afternoon, or you’re just too tired, don’t bother. Nothing you do then will help if you’re tired, and it’s always better to have a good sleep so you wake up the next morning ready to hit the ground running. It’s okay to take a break.

What is one of the most important lessons you learned in school?
Mrs Lacey, my biology teacher, has a method of teaching which encouraged me to take more initiative during Year 12 Biology. Whilst daunting at first, the skills I developed ended up giving me a massive step up in preparation for Externals and I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to self-direct my learning.

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