Students investigate the evolution of natural resources

12 July 2022

A dedicated group of Year 9 and 10 students from Mackay high schools recently spent some of their school holidays investigating the evolution of natural resources at an intensive STEM camp hosted by CQUniversity' as part of the Santos Science Experience Program.

The group of 11 high-achieving students who have a strong interest in science and engineering attended the three-day camp from 5-7 July' taking part in sessions focused on geology' digital imaging' Indigenous perspectives on natural resources' mining technology' robotics and automation' engineering design processes' mine site rehabilitation and design thinking.

The program also involved a virtual mine site tour and visit to the Resources Centre of Excellence.

The experience culminated with the development of presentations on design ideas related to the future of mining and natural resources in the region.

Program leader and STEM project officer for CQUniversity' Katy Li said that the program provided an intensive schedule of activities that would introduce students to the natural resources sector' mining processes and design thinking.

"We intentionally designed a program that provides students with a holistic understanding of natural resource industries and how technology and design thinking will be involved in the continuing evolution of the sector.

"Students immersed themselves in engineering processes' new technologies and industry perspectives' including First Nations perspectives.

"The program also allowed them to build on their communication and teamwork skills – all of which are critical when it comes to engineering practice'" said Ms Li.

Senior Lecturer of Engineering at CQUniversity' Dr Andrew Hammond who was one of the key presenters in the program said that he was keen to pass on his knowledge and help to inspire the future generation of engineers.

"We hope that by taking part in this program' students come away with a thorough understanding of the mining lifecycle and how the engineering design process contributes to this' including research' evaluation' solution design and testing' prototype development and communication.

"Students had clear ideas about what they think a mine should look like in 10' 20' 50 or even 100 years from now'" said Dr Hammond.

Bridget Wright' a Year 10 student from Sarina State High School said that the Science Experience program provided her with a valuable opportunity to learn more about engineering and natural resources ahead of selecting his senior schooling subjects.

"Engineering is a job that does interest me in the future' so it was useful to learn more about the processes involved and how they relate to natural resources' especially living in an area that is so connected with the mining industry.

"The program allowed us to focus on the subject in depth and also helped us to understand how different industries will grow and change in the years ahead.

"The sessions helped us to understand things better and how to apply different ideas to our final projects'" said Miss Wright.

The Santos Science Experience is a fun and engaging national program of science activities for students in Year's 9 and 10.

Each program is designed to provide students who have an interest in science with an opportunity to engage in a wide range of fascinating science activities under the guidance of STEM experts and leaders who love their work.

The program takes place at more than 35 universities and tertiary institutions' with over 82 000 students across Australia having participated in a Science Experience to date.

CQUniversity holds events across many of its campus locations and places a focus on designing solutions for local communities and industries.

The program also provides information about further studies in science' technology and engineering. It highlights the wide range of careers that allow students to pursue their interest and abilities in the sciences.