Science experience day inspires students

High school students from the Ipswich-Lockyer region came face-to-face with low-emissions energy, robotics, virtual mining, rocket science and minerals processing in October.

The students experienced first-hand the range of science and engineering careers open to university graduates at CSIRO’s Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies and University of Technology and the University of Queensland in Brisbane.

“In comparison with other schools in the area, those involved in our program have a high proportion of indigenous students and a low proportion of students that go on to university,” CSIRO ICT Centre’s Dr Jon Roberts said.

UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Debbie Terry said the university was delighted to host the students.

“The UQ community is committed to making the opportunity to undertake a university education as widely available as we possibly can,” Ms Terry said.

“Our school outreach activities aim to build students aspirations and widen their career horizons.

“They are part of a coordinated state approach to widening participation in higher education.”

CSIRO ICT Centre director Dr Ian Oppermann said the week’s activities were a credit to those involved.

“School students, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds, tend to think that university and a career in science is not for them. But, it’s through initiatives like this that we can start to open their eyes – I should know, I was born in Maryborough and I was the first in my family to go to uni,” Dr Oppermann said.

In addition to four CSIRO Divisions, QCAT encompasses research by Rio Tinto and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.