An Extraordinary Passion: Student Challenger Kimi Pellosis
In an interview with Kimi Pellosis, we chatted to the 17-year-old student who joined the Student Challenge Melbourne’s Microbats research team. Here she reflects with us on her Earthwatch experience, her passion for science, and what has happened since.
SO TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE
I’ve been on lots of science camps, I’m a camp nerd, but the Earthwatch experience was so different. In fact, I wouldn’t call it a camp. It was hands-on, a really small tight-knit team, it was like a small family. It was much more flexible as well and we traveled all over greater Melbourne. And we got to meet people from other states.
WERE THERE ANY PARTICULARLY MEMORABLE MOMENTS?
Yes, on the first night we were really eager to get out there and find bats. We did round after round checking the traps, but found nothing. Then at 4 A.M. we found a bat. We were so happy it was amazing!
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART?
Living in residence at Trinity College (Melbourne University), definitely. It’s like Hogwarts in Harry Potter. The beautiful sandstone building, the gardens, the whole atmosphere of the place. You really feel it. You feel the vibe of being a uni student. It’s actually a great taste of what living on campus at a university is really like.
HOW DID YOU FIND THE LATE NIGHTS?
I always say that we turned nocturnal. It was like a massive slumber party. We were wide awake at night, then during the day we slept, sometimes outside on the manicured lawns at the college.
DID YOU LEARN MUCH ON THE TEAM?
I learnt the most important thing: that research is not just about lab work. Research depends on collaboration with people. Collecting the data, there’s so much time and effort that goes into it. I have a lot of respect for the scientists. I also gained an appreciation of the environment afterwards that I didn’t expect.
DID YOU FEEL INSPIRED AFTERWARDS?
Definitely. It inspired me to run an environmental sustainability conference in my local area. I applied for a grant and then gathered everyone together. It was really hard work but I learnt a lot. We had secondary schools from Frankston and surrounding areas participate. The mayor and Greg Hunt also came along. As a result of this, I also received a few awards: VCAA and VCE Young Achiever Award. I was also nominated for the Schools Broadcasting Networking Awards, Frankston Young Australian of the Year, and the Keep Australia Beautiful Individual Youth Award. It all started with Earthwatch though.
WHEN DID YOUR PASSION FOR THE ENVIRONMENT START?
When I was about 12 years old I watched Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.” It really scared me. I thought we were melting. Then this thing inside me thought, why is everyone so calm about this? This is huge. That’s when I decided I could do something.
Learn more about Student Challenge trips:
Australia's Vanishing Frogs - Student Challenge
Turtles on the Move