During the last school holidays, I was lucky enough to be selected to participate in Vice-Chancellor’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) camp held by Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. The camp was for current Year 11 students who are passionate in STEM fields and who would like to explore, understand and achieve something about STEM within five-day time frame.
More than 300 students applied and 160 are selected. There were 10 real-world research projects and each project was a week-long challenge. The projects required campers’ to apply their creative and investigative skills to cutting-edge research areas, such as gamification, drone technology, robotic vision, sport biomechanics, epidemics and outbreaks, and hospitals of the future. One of the most interesting projects was Breaking Bones, where we tested bone strength by actually breaking real bones (samples, not ours)! We tested changes in bone strength based on diet and examined the dietary requirements for the 2018 Commonwealth Games athletes. The projects were real-world related and it gave us a basic understanding of what is like to work for a company in reality.
An amazing part of this camp was the opportunity to extend my social network. Tom Clancy, the American novelist, stated that “every person you meet is an opportunity to learn something”. It’s not solely an opportunity to learn from others but also some potential support provider in the future. During the camp, I was able to interact with people from across Queensland as far as Cairns and Mackey and we shared interesting stories about each other. In the dorm, the atmosphere was quite relaxing. We played cards and board games every night, we watched Rick and Morty together, we played Kahoot to cap our nights off and we had running club in the morning where we got up at 5:30am and went for a run around Brisbane river, basking in the light of the beautiful sunrise.
Getting to know the likeminded people was the best part of this camp. There were so many people with creativity and different personalities and everyone got along well with each other and enjoyed the experience. Before the camp, I thought it would be full of intellectuals, however, as I got to know people, I discovered that we had so much in common. The experience allowed me to explore so much more about the industry I am passionate about at and I would strongly encourage the current year 10 students to do well in their STEM subjects and prepare for this program next year.
I’d like to express my gratitude to Somerset College for letting me know about this program and Mr Abdou for writing a glowing teacher recommendation letter which was integral to the success of my application.
About the QUT Vice-Chancellor’s STEM Camp
Held during the School holidays, Monday 25 September to Friday 29 September 2017 and in its fifth year, the QUT Vice-Chancellor’s STEM Camp is a unique fully funded opportunity for Queensland’s bright young minds to experience real-world STEM research at QUT - regardless of their school or location. The camp offers application based places to 80 local Brisbane students and 80 regional and coastal students.
The 2017 camp was visited by several STEM VIPs including Acting Queensland Premier Curtis Pitt, Dr Christine Williams, Acting Queensland Chief Scientist, former NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson, Taj Pabari, Founder of Fifty-Six Creations and Queensland Young Australian of the Year 2017 and Derek Jouppi, Co-founder of Suncayr and Advance Queensland Hot DesQ grant recipient.
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