When young Ishani Mathur was named winner of the top prize at the NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) Science Fair 2013 held at the Mission Heights Junior College in East Auckland on August 18, it was a moment of justifiable pride for everyone involved in her life.
Her teachers and peers at Somerville Intermediate School where she is a Year 8 student, her parents and members of the extended family summarised their appreciation in two words: ‘Richly deserved.’
There were 156 entries in 10 categories open to students from Year 7 to 13, with each of them undertaking a study to determine specified goals.
Ishani’s task was to test whether a particular food is high or low Glycaemic Index GI).
She measured how fast the food intake breaks down into glucose by adding Invertase
(An enzyme that breaks sucrose-ordinary table sugar obtained from sugar cane- into glucose and fructose).
“The tests helped to determine the glucose levels present in foods that did not specify the levels of sugar (for example, rice, apple, lentils and potato). I then tested the effects of high and low GI food diets on four volunteers over three weeks. The process involved testing blood glucose levels of the four volunteers in three main stages, including standard diet (not considering if the food is high or low GI), high GI diet and low GI diet. My investigations confirmed that low GI food contributes to a good health among all age groups. A diabetic specialist told me that my test may be useful for further study of diabetics,” she said.
As well as learning from speakers, judges and other participants at the Science Fair, Ishani understood the importance of patronage and support that she received from her teachers, parents and others.
“I am sure that the experience that I gained at the Science Fair would be helpful in my current studies and higher education,” she said.
Ishani is still in her formative years (she is a tweenager) and hence is to determine her career and profession but considers Mathematics and Science as her favourite subjects at Somerville Intermediate School, where she is a Year 8 student.
“I am confident that my employment in future years would involve Science,” she said.