Year 11 students Mao Oishi and Mahee Navaratne participated in the UQ FEAST Program (Future Experience in Agriculture, Science and Technology), to experience the rewarding science careers through hands-on activities and workshops.

UQ FEAST is a four-day residential event at The University of Queensland, Gatton campus inspiring Year 11 and 12 students to pursue study in the field of science.

During FEAST we explored all aspects of science including anatomy dissections, animal/plant science and biomedical science and test drive what it’s like to be a UQ student by taking part in hands-on workshops run by current students and staff. We have also explored some of the biggest challenges faced by scientists, including climate change, biosecurity, feeding the world and protecting endangered wildlife. In the evenings we got to stay and get a taste of life at UQ’s Halls of Residence and take part in social and sporting activities.

One of the activities that we enjoyed was the animal anatomy session, where we got to actually use the technology used for wildlife tracking to find a certain animal, and the dissection of the pregnant pigs. We got to interact with the scientists and gained new skills and diverse perspectives that will help me in the future.

During the Program, we attended sessions hosted by UQ PhD professors such as Dr Lyndal Huse who shared her incredible journeys to receiving their Doctorate degree. It was very inspirational to hear about the impactful field research they have conducted to make their mark in the Agricultural and Veterinary fields.

Through the many workshops we participated in, we were able to access and learn how to use equipment used for wildlife tracking and herbicide dispersion. It was amazing to see how they are implementing modern technology to make daily tasks more efficient.

The Gatton campus also has a great variety of wildlife on sight. Ranging from equines, bovine and sheep herds. We were able to do practical work with these animals such as health assessments on sheep and milking dairy cows using industrial equipment. 

Overall, this was an incredibly fulfilling and immersing program that granted us hands on experience through practical activities with consultation with specialists in the field. The workshops and activities present STEM in an engaging manner and cater for student with all different backgrounds and interests. This programme allowed us to make unforgettable connections with fellow attendees and UQ students. We highly encourage all Somerset students to participate in this annual program.

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