Melbourne student is first girl ever picked for Australian Informatics Olympiad team

Melbourne student is first girl ever picked for Australian Informatics Olympiad team

Belinda Shi, a year 12 student from Methodist Ladies’ College in Melbourne, will be the first Australian girl to compete at the International Olympiad in Informatics.

“I’m excited to be the first female on Australia’s International Olympiad in Informatics team,” she says.

Keen to counter the misconception that ‘girls can’t code’, Belinda decided to establish a coding club at school. Her goal is to introduce other girls at her school to informatics, programming and robotics. “I want to encourage girls to keep an open mind and give programming and technology a go, because learning to code is not only fun and rewarding but it’s a skill that’s useful in so many fields,” she says.

According to research commissioned by the Australian Computer Society, women hold only 28 per cent of Australian ICT jobs compared to 43 per cent of professional industry jobs. Encouraging girls to learn coding at school is a critical part of the challenge to increase the number of women in ICT careers.

Members of the Australian Mathematical and Informatics Olympiad teams are pictured above: (from left) Wilson Zhao, Ilia Kucherov, Johnny Lim, Jerry Mao, Richard Gong, Kevin Xian, Declan McDonnell and Belinda Shi; and inserts (from left) are Seyoon Ragavan and Michelle Chen.

Members of the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) team, Michelle Chen and Seyoon Ragavan, are part of a cohort of 10 international special guests to be invited to train at the United States Math Olympiad Summer Program, which is running from 7 June to 2 July at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is a high honour for Michelle and Seyoon as the US is the reigning champion in the IMO. Australia has been invited due to our very strong performances at recent IMOs.

Twenty-seven of Australia’s brightest student biologists, chemists, computer programmers, physicists, mathematicians and Earth scientists have been selected to represent Australia at the UNESCO-sanctioned International Science and Mathematical Olympiads in July and August. The students have succeeded from an initial pool of more than 150,000 high school students who sat open qualifying exams, including the Australian Science Olympiad Exams and the Australian Mathematics Competition. The Australian Mathematics Trust runs the Mathematical and Informatics Olympiad programs.

The Olympians will compete against 2000 of the world’s smartest kids at competitions in Vietnam (Biology), Georgia (Chemistry), Japan (Earth Science), Russia (Informatics), Hong Kong (Mathematics) and Switzerland (Physics). They will receive their Australian team blazers at a team announcement ceremony at Parliament House, Canberra, on Monday 20 June. Media personality and maths whiz Adam Spencer will attend the ceremony together with one of Australia’s leading mathematics professors, The University of Sydney’s Dr Jacqui Ramagge, parents, teachers, academics, Olympiad alumni and officials.

“At a time when we are seeing a declining proportion of students choosing to study advanced maths and science subjects at high school, it is vital to have these national Olympiad programs to nurture and celebrate our science and maths talent,” says Adam Spencer.

Students inspired to win a place at next year’s International Science Olympiads can register for the Australian Science Olympiad Exams by 20 July at www.asi.edu.au. Students interested in next year’s International Mathematical Olympiad still have time to enter the Australian Mathematics Competition through their schools at www.amt.edu.au.

The Olympiad programs are supported by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training through the Mathematics and Science Participation Program. BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and the Australian National University are supporters of the Australian Science Olympiad Competition. Optiver is a sponsor of the Mathematical and Informatics Olympiad programs.

Australian team members for the 2016 International Mathematical and Informatics Olympiads:

International Olympiad in Informatics        

12 to 19 August, Kazan, Russia                    

  1. Richard Gong, Year 11, Sydney Grammar School, NSW
  2. Jerry Mao, Year 10, Caulfield Grammar School, VIC
  3. Declan McDonnell, Year 12, Normanhurst Boys High School, NSW
  4. Belinda Shi, Year 12, Methodist Ladies’ College, VIC

 

International Mathematical Olympiad          

6 to 16 July, Hong Kong

  1. Michelle Chen, Year 12, Methodist Ladies’ College, VIC
  2. Ilia Kucherov, Year 12, Westall Secondary College, VIC
  3. Johnny Lim, Year 12, Killara High School, NSW
  4. Seyoon Ragavan, Year 12, Knox Grammar School, NSW
  5. Kevin Xian, Year 12, James Ruse Agricultural High School, NSW
  6. Wilson Zhao, Year 12, Killara High School, NSW