St Margaret’s pupil top of the board in national biology competition

A sixth-year pupil at Aberdeen’s only all-girls school, St Margaret’s, has achieved the highest mark in Scotland in a national competition run by the Royal Society of Biology.

Iona Thomas-Wright (17), who has been offered a conditional place at Cambridge University to study Biological Natural Sciences, won a Gold Award after taking part in the annual Biology Olympiad.

This year, approximately 7,800 students aged 16 to 19 – the largest number of participants ever – took part in the Olympiad from more than 630 schools.

The competition consists of two online papers which are sat during school time, and which cover a wide range of biological subjects including biochemistry, molecular biology, ecology and behavioural science. Most of the content is not work that is covered in the school curriculum, so students have to conduct extra reading and studying.

Iona, who was one of three St Margaret’s pupils to take part in the Intermediate Olympiad last year – a precursor for younger students – has been invited to attend an awards ceremony at the Institution of Engineering and Technology in London in the summer.

“The questions were very challenging and so I was very surprised, and pleased, to do so well this year,” said Iona.

“It really helps to have a genuine interest in biology because you have to do quite a bit of additional studying for the test. All pupils who took part receive free membership to the Royal Society of Biology’s online student portal, which gives us access to current research and information, as well as the opportunity to get involved in other events. This is a fantastic way to keep up to date with advances in biology, especially for anyone who is interested in a career in this field.”

Head teacher Anna Tomlinson praised Iona’s commitment and hard work.

“Iona is a fabulous ambassador to our younger pupils,” said Miss Tomlinson. “She is extremely dedicated to her studies and the hard work and perseverance she displays is an example to all those who know her.

“We are very proud of everything she has achieved during her time at St Margaret’s and we know she has a very bright future ahead of her in the sciences.”

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