26 May 2019

2019 Weizmann summer school scholarship winners

This year, there are three Australian high school graduate winners of the Weizmann Australia scholarship now destined to attend the 2019 Weizmann Institute of Science’s Dr Bessie F. Lawrence International Summer Science Institute (ISSI) in Israel.  The lucky winners are Sai Campbell, Julian van Gerwen and Caleb McKenna.

The Australian scholarships are thanks to the support of the Trawalla Foundation (Sai), the Garvan-Weizmann Partnership (Julian), and Judy and Sam Weiss (Caleb).

The ISSI runs from 2-25 July and the winners will join over 80 students from around the world working in labs with sophisticated equipment and with researchers who have chosen a career in science. Senior Weizmann Institute scientists will give lectures in topics such as robotics, gene therapy, and brain research and students are encouraged to lead seminars on subjects of their choosing. After the lab work is over, the students will present their own work, in writing and orally.

But there is more than just lab work. After three weeks at the Institute, the group moves to the Judean desert and the Negev, where expert guides from the Sde Boker field school introduce you to Israel’s unique ecosystem and wildlife and lead hikes and excursions through its millennia of history and archaeology. The ISSI also offers evening activities and tours of Israel and you will have free access to the Clore Garden of Science, and the campus’s recreation centre.

About the winners

Sai Campbell is undertaking a Bachelor of Philosophy at the Australian National University (ANU) which has a strong focus of research, which was a draw card for him particularly as ANU has close links with the John Curtin School of Medical Research and highlights neuroscience and oncology. She is also excited by the opportunity presented at ISSI.

“I’m thrilled by the opportunity to work with other equally excited science students from around the world and leading researchers in order to solve real problems and have a tangible impact. I believe that working as a part of an international team encourages a culture of creativity when approaching scientific problems,” Sai said.

Equally Julian van Gerwen is deeply passionate about science and currently plans to become a science researcher once he completes his Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Advanced Studies at the University of Sydney where he is majoring in mathematics, and genetics and genomics.

“I’m fascinated by many fields of Science, including chemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and applied mathematics. I love learning about complex systems and about the reasons behind scientific phenomenon,” said Julian – who is also a musician and plays the French Horn in the Sydney University Symphony Orchestra.

Caleb McKenna, who is currently enrolled in Engineering Science and Physics via the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) degree at the University of Western Australia, said ISSI was a unique opportunity.

“I regard the Weizmann Institute of Science’s 2019 Dr Bessie F. Lawrence International Summer Science Institute as a once in a lifetime experience; one that is unmatched by any other. I will relish the opportunity to learn from world renowned researchers, at an internationally recognised research institution,” said Caleb.

“The ISSI will not only broaden and deepen my understanding in physics and engineering, but also provide an opportunity to connect with university students from around the world who share a love and passion for scientific research and discovery.”

All students graduated from the prospective high schools in 2018 which makes them eligible for the scholarship.  All are committed to a future in science.

On return the students will report on their experience and share what they have learned, so stay tuned.



  • 2019 Weizmann Summer School winner, Caleb McKenna

  • 2019 Weizmann Summer School winner, Julian van Gerwen

  • 2019 Weizmann Summer School winner,Sai Campbell

  • Ibexes near Masada

  • Hiking in Makhtesh Ramon

  • Arrival at the Davidson Youth Villiage, Weizmann Institute

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