One of the brightest minds from the Bega Valley can now say she is among the top in the world when it comes to science.
Bega’s Jade Moxey was recently awarded third at the world’s largest science research competition for school students, the International Science and Engineering Fair held in the US, for a portable and sustainable water purification system.
“To receive a third place was a real achievement for our project and did really validate how significant and world-changing it could be,” she said on Thursday after arriving back in Australia a few days earlier.
“The ability to improve humanity in the areas of most need really is the most satisfying aspect of our work.”
She has been to ISEF three times now, coming fourth in the competition the first two times, and was devastated not to be able return in a competitive capacity as it is for pre-college entrants.
“It’s how the friendships you make there are lifelong that is the greatest thing to come out of it,” she said.
Her teammate Macinley Butson from Wollongong had become her best friend after they met at a national science competition two years ago and had been “such an incredible support figure”.
In addition to third place, the two also won the $20,000USD King Abdul-Aziz and His Companions Foundation of Giftedness and Creativity award as well as the $1000USD Qatar Foundation Research and Development Award.
“To hear our names read out was a real shock, it was amazing,” Ms Moxey said.
She wants to use her achievements to encourage other youths to follow their goals.
“When I went overseas for the first time I thought that was a once in a lifetime experience,” she said.
“But making it back twice more shows it’s not about luck, it’s about hard work.
“The dedication we put into our projects is what gets us there.
“The fact I am just an ordinary girl who had an idea four years ago about looking into a problem in the world, and the opportunities that has led to for me to inspire other people from rural areas like where I’m from has been a highlight of my achievements.”
In the future she wants to look at improving a few parts of her water purification system, for which there has already been outside interest.
But for now, Ms Moxey will focus on her Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Forensic Studies at the University of Canberra, upcoming work placements as well as other passions such as horse riding.
“I guess the goals have always been clear to me, but now I’ve gotten to a point where I’m not entirely sure where I’ll end up,” she said.
“The fact I don’t know what exactly is going to happen is really exciting.
“The dream is to make the 2028 Olympics with horse riding, but we’ll see how that goes,” she laughed.
She wanted to thank her sponsors the Sapphire Foundation, Sebel Furniture, the Science Teachers Association of NSW, as well her and Ms Butson’s parents.