Emily Oldham's dream is to one day work for GNS Science. It's a dream sparked by watching Dante's Peak, a 1997 American disaster thriller film where inhabitants in a fictional town fight to survive a volcanic eruption.

In Year 13 at Paraparaumu College, Emily's dream is a step closer to reality after being accepted into the Innovative Young Minds (IYM) Silicon Valley Alumnae Programme, an initiative to get young women involved in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and high-tech manufacturing fields (STEMM).

After attending the regional programme in Upper Hutt last year, Emily is one of 13 young women chosen to travel to Silicon Valley, California in April for a week of workshops and seminars with other like-minded students.

"I was so excited and relieved when I found out I was accepted.


"I'm so excited, as it will also be my first time in America."

The programme includes lectures and seminars with Anita Chetty from The Harker School speaking and leading a Q+A with the New Zealand students.

"We also get a chance to shadow a college student for a day and experience American college life.

"I'm looking forward to the whole thing, especially spending some more times with the friends I made in the last programme."

"I always liked the idea of chemistry, but what really sparked me to become interested in volcanoes and earth science was watching Dante's Peak," Emily said.

She says she spends a lot of time watching movies.

"I then got into watching a number of movies about Mount St. Helens and many documentaries about volcanoes and earthquakes."

Inspired by hearing the scientists' point of view and seeing how they go about their research, Emily is interested in volcanoes and earthquakes, in earth and land and is especially keen to have a career that involves physical research.


"I just want to be in the field.

"I really enjoy tramping and walking too."

Taking environmental science, chemistry, horticulture, tourism and maths with statistics at Paraparaumu College, Emily is gearing up for a career in science, and is planning to study for a bachelor of environmental science at Massey University next year.