“If it weren’t for the opportunities that I’ve been given I might have gotten bored and quit.”
In 2018, 17-year-old Claire Yung went to Russia to represent Australia at the Asia Pacific Physics Olympiad.
“There was about 30 countries there, which is really exciting,” she says. “It was really valuable just to meet people from around the world, bond with the Australian team, and, of course, solve some really interesting physics problems.”
At the Olympiad she competed both as an individual and a team member in theoretical exams and fieldwork experiments.
It’s not the first time she has represent Australia at the elite level. In 2017, she travelled to China, where she helped Australia take out gold at the International Geography Olympiad.
Claire has been interested in all things science since primary school.
“Both of my parents are scientists so they have always encouraged me to look at cool science things or participate in programs.”
While her mum and dad—a soil scientist and a physicist—were her sounding board for questions, participating in extracurricular programs helped her extend her interest beyond what she could do at school.
Claire has participated in a range of activities such as holiday programs from the CSIRO, to winning places in academic hot-housing programs such as Curious Minds, a program tailored specifically to develop STEM skills in girls, and the Australian Science Olympiad winter and summer camps at the Australian National University. Currently, she studies physics at the Australian National University.
“I’d definitely recommend [anyone who is passionate about science] to seek out opportunities like holiday and camp programs.”