THOUGH he has just graduated from high school, Caleb McKenna will have an opportunity to contribute to ground-breaking scientific research when he visits Israel next month.
The Madeley resident has been chosen to spend almost a month at the Weizmann Institute of Science’s 2019 Dr Bessie F. Lawrence International Summer Science Institute, better known as ISSI, from July 2.
Each year about 80 talented high school graduate science students from around the world are selected for ISSI, many of whom will be attending prestigious universities such as Oxford, Harvard and Yale.
Mr McKenna is just one of three Australian students selected to join the program and has received a full scholarship from Weizmann Australia supporters Judy and Sam Weiss.
The Warwick Senior High School graduate is also the first West Australian student chosen as an Australian representative since 2014.
During the program, the students will spend the first three weeks conducting research in the campus labs and the final week studying in the field in the Judean and Negev deserts.
The work combines the exploration of problems in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematical and computer science, and instruction in the use of sophisticated lab equipment such as electron microscopes, advanced computers, a high-energy particle accelerator, and lasers.
Mr McKenna will then spend his final week of the program in the Judean and Negev deserts where he will study the wildlife, ecology, archaeology and history of the surrounding area through extensive hikes, field experiments, wildlife observation and demonstrations.
“It’s the opportunity to be able to witness how scientific research takes place on a day-to-day basis – not just the big results, but the little tasks and discussions in the lab – that excites me the most,” Mr McKenna said.
“Learning about the research of my assigned mentor, as well as getting involved in the other parts of the program, will provide a deeper understanding of the scientific research process.”
He said he was really looking forward to the experience and was very grateful to Judy and Sam Weiss for sponsoring him to attend.
“I know that when I get back I will be able to share what I have learnt with my peers at UWA, as well as with those at Warwick SHS,” he said.
“I believe the things I will learn in Israel as well as the connections I will make with other like-minded science students will have a great impact on my life moving forward.”
Mr McKenna attends UWA, where he is studying a Bachelor of Philosophy, majoring in engineering and physics.
He is also one of only 10 West Australian students to be awarded a Fogarty Scholarship.