National biology title caps dux's prize haul

STACEY KNOTT
Last updated 12:00 12/04/2014

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Dux of Nelson College Oliver Coleman has continued his streak of success by winning the national title of top biology scholar.

Coleman was named dux last year after taking home five academic prizes, and has been named top scholar in biology for his results in the New Zealand Scholarship exam he sat last year. He also won scholarships in physics, chemistry and English.

He will be presented the award next month at a ceremony in Wellington along with other top subject scholars. There is one winner for each NCEA subject.

Now at Otago University in his first year of health science, Coleman has his eyes set on a medical degree, to be followed by a career as a doctor.

He is inspired by a desire to help people and "see what I am doing is worthwhile as a job".

Coleman found out about the top scholar award in February.

"I was so stoked, I didn't see it coming at all," he said.

Aceing the exam was all about technique, he said.

"It's an interesting exam - there's not a whole lot of content you need to know, but it's technique you have to get, to do it well. You have to present your points in the right way."

Because of this, it was a "total surprise" when he got his results back.

Coleman said being interested in what he studied also helped him achieve top results.

"All the subjects were really interesting in their own ways, and I wanted to try hard at each of them. If I am putting in the effort I might as well aim to do as well as I possibly can," he said.

He believes success came down to the effort put in.

Now living at Carrington Hall, he said he was continuing to work hard to get accepted into the medical school.

He wanted to become a doctor as he knew it would be more than just a job.

"I see a job as being a major part of your life, so doing something you don't believe in doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I wouldn't work just to make money to do a whole lot of other things, I would want my work to be something I enjoy and get a lot out of. Being able to see the results of my work will be really rewarding."

Coleman is also playing trombone in the St Kilda Brass Band in Dunedin, with competitions coming up this year.

He said playing with the band provided a good break from studying.

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- The Nelson Mail

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