Young minds put their skills to the test at the Festival of STEM
Published:29 June 2022
TOP: Aurizon apprentice, STEM education lecturer Daren Mallett and casual education lecturer Alan Tunnah. MIDDLE: STEM education lecturer Daren Mallett and CQU students Chris Richardson and Kim Waters. BOTTOM: Master of ceremonies (MC) Associate Professor Michael Cowling (Professor Tech).
Queensland’s brightest young minds had the opportunity to explore their futures this month as CQUniversity supported a series of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) events for the annual Whitsunday STEM Challenge - Festival of STEM (FoS).
Now in its fourth year, FoS saw more than 450 students, who otherwise may not have been exposed to STEM learning, compete in F1 in Schools, Pedal Prix, Drones and Robotics activities.
Festival organiser and CQUniversity Campus Coordinator Leanne Williams was instrumental to the event's success, facilitating 25 schools from across the Mackay, Issac and Whitsunday regions, Bundaberg, Emerald, Townsville and Bowen.
“The importance of STEM learning for our students with the rise of new technologies provide them with the ability to understand and critically think, develop solutions to complex problems and get them to teamwork and collaborate,” Ms Williams said.
“Important events such as this couldn’t take place without the efforts of CQUniversity staff and students who dedicated their time.
“Thank you to everyone that volunteered across the various activities.”
Ms Williams said she was excited to see FoS evolve over the years with the addition of two new activities in 2022.
“This year was very exciting as we launched a new Drones competition. Students competed in three separate challenges involving programming and coding of Tello drones,” she explained.
“Another great addition was the introduction of a careers area with stalls from CQUniversity, BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), Aurizon, H-E Parts International, Mackay Regional Council, Split Spaces, Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, MRAEL and The Mackay Manufacturing Hub.
“Students talked directly to businesses about what careers were available in the local area and test out their skills using virtual reality (VR) technology.
“Attendees were able to see what mine sites looked like and even try a virtual welding machine.”
These events were also proudly supported by Mackay Regional Council and BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA).
Hay Point Coal Terminal General Manager Linda Murry said BMA was proud to support the Festival of STEM.
“The students were exposed to STEM in a fun environment and will learn new skills from the various competitions,” she said.
“This event opened their eyes and the door to future career opportunities."