veski in synch with students and teachers

7 May

Students and teachers from three regional Victorian schools involved with veski’s new inspiring students (and teachers) program spent the day at the Australian Synchrotron on Monday, 29 April followed by an evening at the Graeme Clark Oration with veski innovation fellows, veski board members and other leading Melbourne scientists and researchers.

More than 48 students and teachers from Kyneton, Mooroopna and Neerim District secondary colleges attended the activities at the Australian Synchrotron, supported by Monash Biomedical Imaging, veski innovation fellow Dr Chris McNeill and veski board member Professor Ian Smith.

The day, organised by veski with support from Jonathan de Booy, Education Outreach Officer at the Australian Synchrotron, included a tour of the Australian Synchrotron and a hands-on laboratory session entitled ‘the emission of visible light by various elements’. Designed to lift the participation rates in the sciences among students, veski also provided information packs on the facility and a workbook to assist during their lab work.

Along with the tour and laboratory session, there were talks on career pathways from:

  • Drs Lisa Hutton, Sharma Jamadar and Parnesh Raniga from Monash Biomedical Imaging
  • Dr Helen Maynard-Casely, a beamline scientist at the Australian Synchrotron
  • Dr Chris McNeill, a veski innovation fellow and Monash University researcher.

veski board member Professor Ian Smith closed the day of activities by providing students with an overview of the range of study and research opportunities at Monash University. He then answered questions from the students, providing an insight into university life.

After a full day of activities, the students and teachers travelled to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre for the 2013 Graeme Clark Oration. Hosted by the ICT for Life Sciences Forum, the Oration was delivered by Mr Geoffrey Lamb, President Global Policy and Advocacy, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

His Oration was followed by a special dinner with more than 600 guests, where veski hosted three tables providing a unique opportunity for 15 students from Kyneton, Mooroopna and Neerim District secondary colleges to directly engage with members of Victoria’s leading scientific community including our veski innovation fellows and directors. 

Guests were invited to ask questions of Mr Lamb and without much encouragement students from Mooroopna and Kyneton posed several questions to the Orator.

With 65 per cent of students agreeing the day inspired them to think more about science, the feedback was extremely positive with a number of them saying it was the best science visit they had ever participated in.

One teacher described the bus ride home: “He asked the other students attending the dinner to rate the day 'out of 10'. The lowest number was a 9.5. The students then continued with a discussion on topics ranging from Neuroscience to Synchrotrons and Cell Biology … These are not normal topics for teenagers catching a bus at 11pm!”

As part of the inspiring students (and teachers) program veski visited the three regional schools and met with the teachers involved in the program earlier in the year. These visits and discussions have allowed veski to determine what resources and activities would most inspire and support the teachers and students in the coming years.

It was a really great start to the program with one of the teachers remarking: “I'm really excited to see where this partnership goes from here. A fantastic start.”

veski's inspiring students (and teachers) programs aims to lift the participation rates in the sciences among students by providing them with access to real world science and providing their teachers with unique professional development opportunities.

 

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