University helps ignite passion for science

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University helps ignite passion for science

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Published on 17 January 2012

17 January 2012

Analysing the sex life of sea slugs, testing for faecal contamination in waterways and examining milk bacteria were all in a day’s work for 22 high school students taking part in a special program organised by the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Primary Industry Centre for Science Education (PICSE).

Entry into the Industry Placement Scholarship (IPS) program was granted to Year 11 and 12 students from schools between Deception Bay and Hervey Bay, along with one pupil from Tamworth, who had demonstrated a keen interest in pursuing a career in science.

As part of the program, students participated in a five-day residential camp in December, completed a week-long industry placement program, and will be awarded a $300 cheque during next month’s Report Back Session.

USC’s Science Education Officer Kristin Jones said the IPS program was designed to showcase the exciting and rewarding career pathways in science and primary industries available to students who study science at university.

“As well as participating in lab activities and lectures at USC, we also took the students to Parmalat Labs, Health and Food Sciences Precinct, the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation’s Bribie Island Research Centre and Maroochy Research Station, Sunshine Coast Council Turtle Care, Maroochy Water Watch, Templeton’s Ginger Farm, Underwater World, JL Labs, and Gourmet Garden,” she said.

“PICSE USC also co-ordinates the industry placement component, which is more than just your typical work experience because it gives students hands-on experience alongside a scientist.”

Mrs Jones said many IPS participants reassess their university options and begin to consider fields like environmental science, aquaculture, ecology and agriculture.

“Many students commented that they learnt about science careers which they didn’t even know existed previously,” she said.

“So we also show them which university courses they have to study so they can get a job in their chosen field.”

— Michelle Widdicombe

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