[ASC-media] unsung hero of south australian science

Donald Bramwell and Gail Fairlamb gfairlamb at cobweb.com.au
Mon Aug 9 06:08:45 EST 2004

News Release   - FOR IMMEDIATE USE


Adelaide -  Monday 9th August 2004




ANZAAS [SA] announced today that the 2004 recipient of the Unsung Hero 
of South Australian Science Award  is Ms. Rona Sakko.


Ms. Sakko receives the award for her work in the promotion of science to 
young people through the CSIRO Double Helix Club,  an organisation that 
brings real science to young people through regular events in their 
area, be it metropolitan or remote country, in an understandable and 
safe manner. Since 1999, when Ms Sakko took over the organisation in 
South Australia,  the club has grown from organising 56 science events a 
year to 106 events in 2000, 172 events in 2001, 191 events in 2002 and 
207 events in 2003.


This number of events is over half of all CSIRO Double Helix events run 
throughout Australia, involving nearly 9000 young South Australians in 
2003 alone!   


Ms Sakko organises workshops, excursions, science talks, career talks, 
visits to industries and research locations. The club members (and their 
families) really get a strong insight into "real science" as well as 
enjoying the excitement and exhilaration of learning how science affects 
their everyday lives.  These programmes, which are often 
oversubscribed,  require considerable work and input from Ms Sakko 
outside her normal working hours, a commitment that Ms Sakko has never 
resiled from.  Her enthusiasm for science and the long extra unpaid 
hours she is willing to devote to bringing science to young people has 
inspired a large network of people and scientists who are willing to 
give up their time to help delivering talks, workshops, visits etc.   To 
reach  remote and regional areas, Ms Sakko has promoted the 
establishment of regional Double Helix groups in South Australia, and 
she will often spend weeks ensuring that all communities have an equal 
opportunity to access the programmes offered by the Double Helix Club.  
The demand is seemingly insatiable:  with up to 450 phone call bookings 
for single event - on one occasion earlier this year,  Ms Sakko 
organised 17 sessions of one science excursion to fill the demand!


Ms Sakko's role in originating working experiments and models, and easy 
to understand presentations which communicate the correct scientific 
basis of every day life is of inestimable value.    The award recognises 
Ms Sakko's commitment to communicating science and furthering the 
understanding of science in the community,  particularly among the 
young, the future of our nation.


Given the importance of science, and its applications through 
technology, to the future well-being of South Australia, Ms Rona Sakko 
is a worthy recipient of the award of Unsung Hero of South Australian 
Science for 2004.

The award will be presented to Ms. Sakko  by   Professor David Boyd at 
a  Presentation Breakfast  to be held at the South Australian Museum on  
9th. August at 7.30am.


Previous winners of the Unsung Hero of South Australian Science award 
have been:

Dr John Baxter;

Dr Karen Edyvane;

Dr Pamela Parker;

Mr John Mignone;

Associate Professor Keith Walker;

Associate Professor  Gil Hollamby;

Mr Richard Daley

The Unsung Hero of South Australian Science Award 2004 is sponsored by 
ANZAAS[South Australia]

To interview Ms Sakko,  please call Ms Jo Harris on 0414 298 300

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