Students Emily O’Regan, 17, from Gateshead and Kyle Miller, 17, from Blyth, each won a Nuffield Foundation bursary to fund summer placements enabling them to investigate an area of science of their choice.
Emily plans to study a rare breed of Chilean Flamingos at the centre to help identify why they have failed to produce chicks for a number of years.
Emily said: “I am really interested in animals and conservation and a lot of work carried out at Washington Wetlands Centre is with rare or endangered species of birds, so I’m delighted to be able to do my placement here and to be able to contribute to larger research projects currently being undertaken at other centres across the country.
“The experiences I’m getting here while I’m still a student are giving me a real taste of what’s to come in my future career, possibly in ecology or conservation.”
Kyle, a former Blyth Community College student, will be spending his time at the centre researching animal behaviour particularly focusing on otters.
Kyle said: “I wanted to do this particular placement because I want to take every opportunity I can to help me to get my dream career in conservation or Zoology. The reason I chose otters is because they are fascinating creatures, but they are also in decline so this may be my only opportunity to research them.”
After finishing A Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Geography and Environmental Studies at Newcastle College, Kyle plans to go to university to study Zoology or Natural Sciences.
Newcastle College students Aimee Lammonby, 17 from Newcastleand Samuel Thompson, 16, from Gateshead also received bursaries from the Nuffield Foundation to carry out their placements at Newcastle University.
Steve Gibson Director, Newcastle Sixth Form College, said: “At Newcastle College we help our 16-18 year old students gain as much work based experience as they can throughout the duration of their course. This kind of hands-on experience gives the students an insight into their chosen career and can be an invaluable stepping stone into higher education training or employment.”
Newcastle College STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Outreach, which helps schools access STEM enhancement and enrichment opportunities, is the regional organiser for Nuffield Foundation Bursaries in the North East.
Nuffield Bursaries offer aspiring young scientists the opportunity to explore their chosen field of science, technology, engineering or maths during a four- six week long summer placement. Placements are offered by leading local and national businesses, scientific industrial research institutes and universities.
Students are expected to work on well defined projects which contribute in a real way toward the work of their host organisation.
Newcastle College offers a wide range of free courses for 16-18 year-olds including A Level, Baccalaureate and a number of vocational subjects.
In spring/summer 2013, the college will open its new sixth form building – the first specialist facility in Newcastle dedicated to enhancing the education of 16-19 year-olds from across the region.