Fernanda and Vincetius are grade 8 students in SMP Christian Petra 3 Surabaya and won gold metal at the national science fair in Jakarta. Their research into the effects of Trichogramma Japonica in rice fields lead them to be oneof the ten selected to go to Pszczyna, Poland for the young scientist conference. The conference in Poland was a six day event hosting 39 teams from 18 different countries.
Their trip to Poland started off first with the advice of their teacher Mr Gunawan. He was the person who suggested to them that they could observe rice plants. More specifically why some of the plants die and others do not when no pesticide is applied. At the beginning the learnt from some of the local farmers that the plants that did not die contained trichogramma japonicum. They then continued to observe the rice fields for about 8 months and learnt how trichogramma japonicum prevented the plants from contracting the parasites, which would kill them.
The first science fair they attended was in Bandung, West Java and a total of 16 team were entered, ten of which would go onto present at the national science fair in Jakarta. The science fair in Jakarta was held in November 2008 and is where they won their national gold metal for their research. There were nine other teams to earn the gold metal as well and got to join them on the trip to Poland.
The young scientist convention is held annually and has science projects from youth around the world. The convention is six days in length in which the 39 teams present their projects to a panel of 5 judges. Fernanda and Vincetius chose to present theirs on the first day of the conference and ended up being the third team to present. The reason they chose to present on the first day was so that they could enjoy the remainder of the week without the nerves that go with preparing for a presentation.
Vincentius and Fernada are very grateful for all the support they received from the people around them. Their teacher Mr Gunawan was very supportive and they said was the one who got the ball rolling for their research. The teachers at their school helped them a lot with their preparation for the presentation because it had to done in English. They also said that their parents were very helpful with everything and helped fine tune their presentation.
The two students hope that their results get passed onto the local farmers of Indonesia, so that the farmers realise they do not need to use pesticides anymore to protect their crops. However, they understand that they need help from government to get message out. An example of the help the government could provide would be to raise the price of the pesticides so that the farmers will look for cheap natural methods of protecting their crops. The students are going to be meeting with mayor Surabaya soon and on May 19th they are going to meet up with Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono president of Indonesia.
Their advice for other young people who may be interested in making a difference in the world was to look around and be observant of problems that are present. If you notice something ask yourself why that is and do not be afraid to ask for help from adults. There are many problems that we face, that have simple solutions. Be observant and do not be afraid to ask questions. They said that they learnt the importance of patience and hard work during their research. Both Fernada and Vincentius are fine examples of what students can achieve when the work hard. What they have achieved is to be admired and to aspire to by the people around them and anyone else who tries to make a difference in world.