Budding Future Scientists from John XXIII

During the recent summer school holidays, five lucky Year 11 and 12 students from John XXIII College were selected to join in with 68 other Year 11 & 12 students from 49 WA high schools to make Murdoch University their home whilst they experienced the WA Science and Engineering Summer School (WASESS). The students resided at the student accommodation from Jan 12-17 and spent most of the daytime on campus participating in a challenging academic and social programme designed to give them a better feel for what it is like to be a university student, and also to equip them with a better understanding of the applications of science and engineering so as to inform their career choices.

For the formal part of WASESS, the students attended lectures and were involved in hands-on laboratory sessions

The social program involved such activities as

  • An Amazing Race Campus Experience (ice breaker) where students had to go to various checkpoints on campus and complete a range of team and individual challenges before moving to the next checkpoint.
  • Science Quiz
  • Tour of the Sports Science facilities
  • Ultimate Frisbee training
  • Dinner with scientists - About 30 scientists at various stages of their careers joined the students where the challenge for students was to get to know as many scientists as possible (think speed dating!)

Furthermore, the WASESS students had the opportunity to participate in lectures on modern forensic techniques, parasites, science fiction, nanotechnology and mining, as well as lab sessions on Wetlands Ecology, Forensic Biology and Toxicology, Sports Science, Veterinary Science, Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Metallurgy, Mathematics and Sports Science. Some of their guest lecturers were Adam Johnson from Garbologie, and Professor Katrina O'Mara from AECOM

Students also had the opportunity to visit the Chemistry Centre, Native Arc, Harry Perkins Institute, Perth Seawater Desalination Plant and the WA Department of Food and Agriculture.

Our recently-retired Chief Scientist of Western Australia, Professor Lyn Beazley also presented to the students in the closing ceremony.

John XXIII Students Toby Mace, Sashana Anandarajah, Callum MacIntyre, Mariah Mwipatayi and Lara Oppermann with Professor Bob Mead at the judging of the facial approximations.

Dr Amanda Webb

p.s. I was extremely fortunate in that I was very kindly invited to join in with the students for their lecture on Forensics, attend their facial approximation sessions, and dined with the students and scientists.