Read about their Eureka experience

Gigi and Ella were awarded first place in the primary school category of the 2015 University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize for their film Cry Stoppers. We sat down with Gigi and Ella to hear about their experience and get their advice for students who were planning on entering this year.

Eureka Prizes: Tell us a bit about your Eureka Prizes experience.
Gigi: I entered the competition for a bit of fun and did not expect to go as far as we did.
Ella: For me, the experience was uplifting and educational. I really formed a great friendship with my partner Gigi - this was an amazing journey we will always share. I also learned so much from the Sleek Geeks, Dr Karl and Adam Spencer, and the other contestants. I loved meeting so many esteemed scientists. The night itself was incredible. It was fantastic sitting so close to the stage and at the table with Dr. Karl. Everyone was so encouraging and interested in our short film.

Eureka Prizes: How did it feel when your team was announced the winner?
Ella: I was so nervous before the announcement was made. When we won all the nervous anticipation was forgotten and I was so exhilarated. Seeing all the people in the audience clapping and cheering was incredible and the feeling of achievement was wonderful. I was so excited I could hardly sleep even after we left the dinner at 1am.
Gigi: Absolutely ecstatic!

Eureka Prizes: What has been the most surprising thing about being a Eureka Prize winner?
Gigi: How lovely and down to earth the people we met were. I expected the adults, especially the Professors, to speak ‘convoluted’ language but they were so easy to talk to. They were inspirational and treated us as one of them.
Ella: When we entered the competition we really didn’t realise how prestigious and important the awards were. One of the most surprising things was how much the “real” scientists genuinely wanted to know about us and our short film. It was humbling how kind they were to us and also how open they were about themselves.

Eureka Prizes: How has the win impacted on your plans for the future?
Ella: The win has motivated me even more to study science. We met and learned about some amazing people and their discoveries and developments in the field of science. While I had often thought about being a scientist, the whole experience has encouraged me and opened up so many opportunities I didn’t even know existed. I have so many questions to answer.
Gigi: I have always wanted to be a Doctor or at least someone in the Science field. Science will teach me how to help the world. Winning this prize has proved to me that if you put your mind to something, anything can happen.

Eureka Prizes: Do you have any tips for those entering the Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prizes in 2016?
Gigi: It takes a while to make your video. Be patient and have fun. You never know what might happen!
Ella: Three minutes is a REALLY short time! It is hard to keep the content to three minutes - much easier to be on top of this from the beginning. Experiments helps to make your video interesting and it is great to work with someone as this keeps it fun and it helps to work on ideas with someone else.

Eureka Prizes: And finally…where do you keep your trophy?
Ella: My trophy is on display in my bedroom next to my homework desk - it helps to keep me motivated. Most people who come in ask me what it is, and I have so much fun telling them about all my experiences. There is also a trophy on the front desk at our school.
Gigi: I keep my trophy on my highest shelf in my bedroom. It is right next to my desk so I always see it!

See Gigi and Ella’s winning video here.