Pupil honoured for protein research

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 31/01/2014
vining
BRIGHT YOUNG THING: Palmerston North Girls High School student Brittany Vining.

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Finding out if protein boosts the physical performance of young women has seen an aspiring Palmerston North science pupil scoop national honours.

Brittany Vining, 18, was one of four New Zealand secondary school pupils accepted in The Royal Society of New Zealand Gold Crest scheme last year.

Brittany ticked off the final component of her project this week, delivering a seminar on her research to a room of science-minded people.

She is one of 40 Kiwi pupils to have completed projects in Crest's 25-year history.

The Crest concept is an international awards scheme designed to encourage innovation, creativity, and problem-solving skills in science, technology and environmental studies. Pupils do more than 100 hours' work, spanning more than 18 months, under the watchful eye of industry experts.

Brittany's project, Protein: Pro Teen? looked at whether protein shakes change the physical capabilities of adolescent girls. She tested a group of about 30 teenage girls for their endurance, agility and leg power.

She looked at whether the girls who had a three-times-a-week intake of chocolate-flavoured whey protein drink noted any differences to those who weren't sipping the whey.

Although there was no obvious trend in her findings, Brittany said the research, report writing and food scientists scrutinising her work sharpened her skills and gave her an insight into what higher academic life could be like.

Some of the challenges included convincing her classmates to take part in the project, making "sock flavoured" protein drinks tasty and dealing with a product recall.

Brittany said the project was a rewarding experience and acted as a springboard into seeing what the world of science had to offer.

National Gold Crest assessor Carol Pound said Brittany's research was impressive.

Brittany hopes to study medicine at Otago University next year.

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- Manawatu Standard

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