HIGH achieving Indigenous students from across the country have descended on Newcastle for a summer school program designed to connect culture with science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills.
Holly Evans from Innisfail State College and Courtney Russell from Dubbo College Senior Campus are among 32 year 11 students attending the free Aboriginal Summer School for Excellence in Technology and Science (ASSETS), which is managed by CSIRO, funded by the BHP Foundation and being held at the University of Newcastle.
“I’ve always had a passion for science and wanted a career in STEM,” Holly said.
“This has made me more aware of the options we have and how many things we can do.
“It’s made me realise how many pathways we have when it comes to our wider interests and who we are.”
Participants met last Thursday to start the nine-day program, which includes activities focusing on water chemistry and solar energy, meeting STEM professionals and learning about bush tucker and medicine.
They started work on Wednesday on inquiry based projects.
Holly is investigating whether additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is changing the PH of rainwater, while Courtney is assessing five brands of bottled water for their PH, hardness, magnesium and calcium to determine the “healthiest”.
They’ll present their findings on Friday.
“I’ve learned stuff here that I could not have possibly learned where I’m from and I can bring that back to my community,” Courtney said.
“I’ve got to know more friends, feel more confident and it doesn’t end here – they’re going to help us find work experience and placement.”