TSP: Inspirer and the Inspired

Julie Harrison
Inspirer and science teacher, St Ives High School

Bringing science to life for students at St Ives High School, Julie Harrison makes a conscious point of showing students the applicability and practicality of science in broader contexts.

“I consider science to be an integral part of our everyday life – from our naturally investigative natures to the fact that scientific laws and theories explain and govern our existence. Science is dynamic and is not just learnt from a textbook – it has to be experienced,” said Julie.

She studied science at the University of Sydney herself, completing her Bachelor of Science degree in 1984. Julie then went on to do a Diploma in Education at the former Sydney Institute of Education at the University of Sydney to become a high school science and chemistry teacher.

“I often relate my science, chemistry, physics or biology lessons to the theoretical and practical experiences I undertook during my science studies at the University of Sydney or have learnt from my extensive travels, with the hope of providing interest and inspiration to all the students I teach,” said Julie, explaining her teaching strategy of making science relevant.

Julie taught Marcello Solomon for three years, from his junior science studies in Year 10 until his senior chemistry in Years 11 and 12.

“I first taught Marcello as part of our Gifted and Talented program in Year 10 Science, which we run for students of talent and high academic ability. With this group, I focus not only on challenging and stimulating our young scientists, such as Marcello, but encouraging them to consider studying science subjects in Years 11 and 12, and ultimately as a career path, having myself studied Science at the University of Sydney,” said Julie.

“Marcello demonstrated his potential for excellence while he studied Chemistry in Years 11 and 12. He was a mature, keen and dedicated student who enjoyed intensive discussion on all topics related to chemistry. He established a rigorous study schedule, accepting advice and guidance from me as a mentor and HSC marker,” Julie remembered.

“As a result, he was able to achieve outstanding results throughout his years in high school, achieving top results in Chemistry in Years 11 and 12.”

Having been inspired to pursue science in high school, Marcello went on to study in the Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics) at the University of Sydney, and became a TSP student in chemistry.

“I fully supported Marcello’s decision to study science at university and was thrilled to hear he had chosen the University of Sydney where I held fond memories of my studies,” said Julie.

"Marcello embraced the opportunity to take part in the University’s science Talented Student Program and keenly reported back to me on his research. He even allowed me to display his project to inspire other students here at St Ives High School to partake in the TSP at the University of Sydney.

"Marcello’s continued contact inspires me to hope that other students I teach will follow in his footsteps."