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Student geologist rocks national prize

Published: March 14, 2019

Cornwall College 16-18

A student geologist from St Austell has overcome strong competition from schools and colleges around the UK to win a national competition.

Eighteen year old Sabina Smurthwaite, who currently studies A-level Geology, Environmental Science and Graphic Design at Cornwall College, stepped up to the plate to win the 16-18 year old category of a poster competition held by the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB).

The national competition, entitled ‘Economic Minerals Matter’, is run by the Earth Science Teachers’ Association (ESTA) and is based on the idea that earth sciences matter in our lives.
Sabina said she was “thrilled” when she discovered that she had won the prize.

“I never dreamed that I would win the competition when it was first brought to my attention by my geology teacher at the college,” she continued.

“I chose to focus my poster on the naturally occurring mineral mica because it is a material that we use every day in things such as makeup, electrical appliances and paint, to name just a few. I found the research very interesting and I’ve really enjoyed putting the poster together.”

The focus of the competition was economic minerals; meaning the metals, minerals, rocks and hydrocarbons extracted from the Earth by mining, quarrying and pumping.

The challenge was for students to select an economic mineral that is essential to their life, to show their knowledge and understanding of this topic and to produce an A3 poster that was both eye-catching and informative and which would appeal to and be understood by students of their own age. The posters were judged on originality, impact and the level and quality of information provided.

A-level Geology teacher Elouise Gill from Cornwall College St Austell said “it was a joy” to see Sabina win.

“Sabina’s poster was superb; factual and beautifully creative,” Elouise continued.

“Sabina’s passion for both Environmental Science and Geology is evident in her work and I look forward to following with interest the progress she makes in her chosen career.”

Tony Birse from PESGB, visited the college campus in St Austell to meet Sabina and present her with her award, a trophy made from part of a borehole core drilled down into the Leman Sandstone Formation in the North Sea.

“The Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain is pleased to have been asked to sponsor the Annual ESTA Competition, which is a national initiative to raise the profile of this important branch of science,” Tony said.

“The work this year has been very exciting and the students have produced work of a very high standard. Congratulations to Sabina on winning the 16-18 category, we hope this will be the start of a lifelong passion for geology and the earth sciences.”

To find out about studying A-levels at Cornwall College St Austell, please visit www.cornwall.ac.uk or call 0330 123 2523.

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