Nelson College year 12 student Will Hewitt is one of four New Zealand students to be selected to take part in Space Camp USA this July. Photo: Andrew Board.

Science whizz off to USA space camp


Will Hewitt’s passion for science and engineering isn’t news to anyone who knows him. He tops his year group in science, works part time at an electronics company and spends his spare time “tinkering” with engineering projects.

So the Nelson College student’s latest achievement shouldn’t be much of a shock either – he’s been selected to head to Space Camp in the United States as part of a nine day course.

The lack of surprise shouldn’t take away from how prestigious it is, though.

Will is one of only four students in New Zealand to be selected and 70 per cent of his costs are covered by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

In total, 100 students from 35 countries will attend the camp.

His science teacher Tristan Riley says it’s a big deal for the school.

“Will’s one of our top students,” he says. “It’s really exciting that we get someone going because it gives the younger students someone to look up to. Yes, you should apply for these things.”

Will got the news while having dinner at a friend’s house and will head to the United States in July.

“It was really exciting. America is a place I’ve always wanted to go.”

He says he’s looking forward to the camp where he will meet students from other countries, get to use a piloting simulator and learn about space from some top scientists. But he says the highlight will be “doing backflips in the low gravity simulator”.

After the camp in Alabamba, Will will head to California for a further two weeks and have a tour of the head offices of Google and Facebook, a visit organised by Trade and Enterprise New Zealand.

“That really interests me so it’s great I’ve got the chance while I’m over there,” he says.

Will says his plans after finishing at Nelson College next year is to do a degree in bio medical engineering.