Aurora Awards go Next Level


The Flinders University HUB played host to the finals of the 2021 Cochlear Aurora Photo Contest awards on Thursday, December 2.

The awards, aimed at encouraging women into STEM, and is open to year 7-12 students across South Australia and, for the first time, the Northern Territory. Entries are science-based photographs, judged on the quality of the photo, creativity of the concept, clear communication and explanation of the photo.

This year saw a record number of entries (100) as the contest continues to grow at an impressive pace. There was a prize pool of $6700 awarded across all categories, including individual categories for Best Physics, Best Natural photo, BestSTEM/M, Best Regional entries and Best entry from an Indigenous student.

The ceremony was hosted by Jessica Adamson and saw a number of the SA finalists attend. Many of the NT finalists also streamed into the event. After hearing from event founder Maria Parappilly and a number of past finalists and women doing amazing things in STEM, it was time to announce the winners.

The quality of photographs this year was outstanding and can be viewed here 2021 Cochlear Aurora photo contest

Emily Faggotter of Gleeson College won the Years 7-10 category for SA with her piece Super Blood Moon. She enjoyed being a part of the finals ceremony. “(It) was a really fun and a great experience, especially listening to the past winners and seeing where they are now, I found that really inspiring, it is a great way to teach young girls and woman about STEM, also just seeing all of the other contestants and seeing their photos was also really inspiring to see what their  perceptive is in photography and science.”

“The image that I submitted was a picture of the super blood moon, what inspired me the most was I have always loved photography and science but never really put them together so as soon as I heard about the Cochlear Aurora Photo contest, I knew it was something I wanted to challenge myself in doing,” Emily said.

She has learned a lot from the experience.  “It has taught me its ok not to always get things right all the time but to never give up, science is a big learning curve and it might take lots of attempts to figure things out. It also has taught me there is many different fields in science and inspired Me to look deeper into the different science fields to see what I would really love to study and conquer in my future.”

What would she say to other students considering entering the awards? “I would 100% recommend this competition to other students because for me personally it was really inspiring to me how we got to hear from people who was in our position a while ago and talk about there journey and where they are today,  but overall I think it was a really good thing to start off your career and it was also really fun to have this type of experience.”

Rosanna Materazzo, Darwin High School, won first prize for the best yr11-12 entry NT and was also winner of best physics entry from NT. “I was really excited to be named winner of the Year 11-12 Prize for the NT and also the Best Physics Entry. There were so many great photos. I love both photography and science so this was a great opportunity to showcase both. I really enjoyed taking the photo ‘Underwater Vortex’ and writing about the science behind it. I think it is great that Flinders University has given this opportunity to girls in STEM to explore the science around us and to encourage girls to further education in science.  Thanks Flinders, Cochlear and all the sponsors for this opportunity”


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