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2019 ConocoPhillips Science experience puts STEM subjects in a local context

Published:27 June 2019

About 30 Year 10 and 12 students from high schools across the Rockhampton region recently participated in the 2019 Conoco Phillips Science Experience event on the CQUni Rockhampton North campus.

Year 10 and 12 students from high schools across the Rockhampton region converged on the CQUniversity Rockhampton North campus this week for the 2019 ConocoPhillips Science Experience event.

The three-day event provided about 30 students with the opportunity to explore a range of scientific fields, including robotics, cars and artificial intelligence, virtual reality, Indigenous science, and even palaeontology.

The ConocoPhillips Science Experience takes place in over 35 universities and tertiary institutions, within many different laboratories and lecture theatres.

Local Event Coordinator and CQUni Research Project Manager Desley Pidgeon said the event, now in its fourth year, was part of a STEM program at CQUniversity.

“It’s about putting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in a local context by utilising our unique industry partnership with companies like ConocoPhillips Australia,” Ms Pidgeon said.

“By exposing schooled-aged kids to STEM and giving them opportunities to explore its concepts, they will hopefully develop a passion for it and pursue a job in a related field."

Ms Pidgeon said this year’s event agenda focused on engaging students in a lot of hands-on activities and included an added focus on agriculture.

“Given that the Rockhampton region is the beef capital of Australia, agriculture plays an integral roll in our local economy,” she said.

“The Active Eve agriculture workshop, hosted by CQUniversity Research Fellow (Agritech Communication and Education) and GPS Cows Team member Dr Amy Cosby, provided participants with an insight into agricultural technology.

“The workshop highlighted that students who intend on entering the agricultural workforce must have an excellent comprehension of technology, particularly motion sensors in society and agriculture.

“Students also heard from a Capricorn Caves palaeontologist guest speaker; participated in a virtual reality experience with CQUniversity Project Manager (Infrastructure) Paul Holbeck and Analyst/Developer Jamie Aisthorpe; investigated the partnership between robotics and coding with CQUniversity Senior Research Technologies Officer Jason Bell; discovered new Indigenous science learnings with CQUniversity Indigenous Connect Officer Malcolm Mann, and participated in an artificial intelligence workshop with CQUniversity Senior Lab Supervisor/Instructor Troy Simpson.

The event is scheduled to occur again from 15-17 October 2019 at CQUniversity Gladstone Marina campus, in the state-of-the-art STEM hub. And, given the success of the ongoing initiative, CQUniversity is looking to extend the program to include its Townsville campus.