14 June 2017

2017 Summer School scholarships awarded

This year, three high school graduates have been selected to attend the Weizmann Institute of Science International Summer Science Institute (ISSI) in Israel, which takes place over the month of July.

The lucky candidates are Viney Kumar, formerly of Knox Grammar School and now studying Advanced Mathematics at Sydney University; Kate Cousins, formerly of Fort St High School, Petersham and now studying a Bachelor of Science (Advanced) at Sydney University; and Emma Zwi, formerly of Moriah College, currently travelling abroad and enrolled in a Bachelor of Advanced Science and Arts at UNSW next year.

Thanks to scholarship funding generously donated again by the Trawalla Foundation for one student, Weizmann Australia’s Executive Director, Rina Michael, said they initially planned to send only one student to ISSI.  The scholarship recipient is Viney Kumar.

“However, due to the exceptionally strong cohort of applicants this year, we managed to secure an additional two spaces in the program and are now sending three students, which is very exciting.”

Each year the ISSI program brings together over 80 talented high school graduates from around the globe to experience scientific research and to learn more about the Weizmann Institute of Science and life in Israel today.

The first three weeks are spent working in laboratories on campus.  The work combines the exploration of problems in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics and computer sciences, instruction in the use of sophisticated laboratory equipment, and experimental procedures. Upon completion of laboratory work, participants give an oral presentation and submit a report.

Students also participate in scientific activities, such as lectures and workshops given by senior institute scientists, departmental seminars and visits to some of the state-of-the-art facilities on campus. They are also encouraged to give presentations on subjects in which they have an interest.

The final week of the program is spent in the Judean Desert and the Negev, where expert guides lead hikes and excursions that acquaint participants with the ecological, geographical, geological, zoological and archaeological characteristics of the region.  Tours of Israel are an integral part of the program as they give participants a sense of the beauty of the country and introduce them to the history and diverse culture of Israel.  The schedule also allows for free time, social activities, group discussions and more.

All candidates expressed their enthusiasm for the program:

“I’m excited by the challenge of scientific research, and am looking forward to the unique cultural experience and the chance to meet like-minded people from around the world. My aim is to use these four weeks as an opportunity to step outside my comfort zone, and grow academically and personally in the process,” said Viney.

“I have a strong passion for scientific research, application of new technologies, world travel, and immersion into new cultures. I am so thrilled and grateful to have the opportunity to travel to Israel and participate in this outstanding summer school program,” Kate said.

“I would like to expose myself to as much new knowledge as possible and am eager to experience all that science has to offer. I feel that this summer school program is a great way to go about doing so,” Emma concluded.

Stay tuned for the full report following their visit.


  • Kate Cousins and Viney Kumar

  • Emma Zwi (centre) while volunteering on a permaculture farm in South Africa

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