Year 11 Emmanuel Anglican College Ballina student Hamish Walker. Picture: Rebecca Fist
Year 11 Emmanuel Anglican College Ballina student Hamish Walker. Picture: Rebecca Fist

Hamish takes passion for biology to international levels

WITH young scientists in our midst like Ballina’s Hamish Walker, the future looks bright.

The Year 11 Emmanuel Anglican College student is one of Australia’s sharpest young minds in the field of biology.

Mr Walker recently qualified for the 2020 International Biology Olympiad, among 17 students on the Australian team.

“I’m really fascinated by the intricacies and complexities of life,” he said.

“It’s amazing to be able to investigate that from a macroscopic level. The diversity of life is quite amazing.”

To qualify, his extra-curricular studies focused on university-level biology, including biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, physiology, anatomy, botany and evolutionary biology.

“I find genetics and biochemistry particularly fascinating, I’m really interested in stem cell research and cell specialisation and diversification,” Mr Walker said.

“I’m interested in clinical applications of biotechnology, I think it’s important to continue that research, and I think I might like a career in that one day.”

His science teachers have been instrumental in encouraging him to expand his intellect, along with his parents who are both school teachers.

“I’ve also been pretty lucky to be at a school that’s provided me with the opportunity to do lots of competitions and exams, as well as having a great science program,” Mr Walker said.

“I was lucky enough to take in a few days of the biology summer school olympiad at the Australian National University in Canberra and I made a few mates who are very interested in biology and just as passionate about learning about life as I am.”

Unfortunately the international olympiad was cancelled due to COVID-19, he will instead take part in an online event.

Mr Walker is holding out hope they are able to travel to Portugal for next year’s competition.

The global pandemic has brought on sweeping changes to the university sector, but Mr Walker and his friends are keeping their heads down, and remaining optimistic.

“Graduation still feels like a long way away, I feel like a lot of people aren’t too concerned about what the future holds, we’re hopeful things will return to a relative normal in the near future,” he said.


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