At all their visits, the students enjoyed learning about the applications of STEM in disciplines they hadn’t considered before.
While the NYSF has a heavy focus on student interaction with laboratory facilities and distinguished experts within STEM fields, it also provides the opportunity for students to engage with STEM's wider-world applications in a less research-focused environment. One such opportunity is our ‘Curiosity Afternoon’, where groups visit sites less involved with science and technology and more focused on products and services intended for society.
At the Session B Curiosity Afternoon, students visited The University of Queensland's Idea Hub, Flavour Creations, ‘3D Printing for Useful Things’, Blue Sky Coffee, The Queensland Academy of Sport, RainBank at South Bank, and the Science of Taste at UQ. Each event took its own unique take on communicating the involvement of science with the fundamental purposes of the facility, enabling the students to further expand their perspectives on just how much STEM affects modern society and the careers which accompany it.
At Idea Hub, the students learnt about entrepreneurship and the ways through which STEM and innovation are incorporated into it. Splitting into groups, they brainstormed a new product, designed some variants of it, determined their key marketing audience and extrapolated from that data the funding and costs required for their product to be successful on the market. Once they completed this task, the groups pitched their ideas to their peers to work on their communication skills.
At the Flavour Creations visit, some students saw first-hand the multiple facets that comprise an innovative production company, from initial product development to final release. Students were amazed by the wide range of innovative assistive hydration and nutrition products used within the development process. Another group of the students travelled to the HSBNE Workshop, where they were toured around the 3D Printing facilities and interacted with the technology, gaining great insight into its applications in society.
“Engineering has never been so appealing. It was really cool to see really worldly uses for the technology. I thought that seeing a 3D printing of breast implants opened my eyes to the prospects of new technology.” - Josh Ruiz, Session B Student
At Blue Sky Coffee, students learnt about the chemistry involved in the process of roasting coffee beans, then the reactions that are triggered when water is added to them. They thoroughly enjoyed the visit, and the ways in which it opened their eyes to the roles science plays in the background of everyday life.
Students who visited the Queensland Academy of Sport learnt about what the institute does, whilst also having the chance to use force plates, a zero gravity treadmill and ergo rowing machines. They discovered the importance of acclimatisation for athletes in the environmental cabin, with one student stating “I thought Brisbane was bad until I walked into the 40 degree room at 50% humidity.”
“I love sport, and seeing its application in the field was inspiring and provided me with great aspiration for the future.” – Session B Student
At RainBank, the students toured the RainBank facilities for storm water harvesting and reusing under South Bank, as well as explore South Bank! Other students visited the Institute of Molecular Biosciences at UQ, where they engaged in a lecture about the chemistry behind taste and its interactions with the other senses. They also discussed the levels of taste recognition one can have, and students were able to test if they were ‘super-tasters’, which the majority of students were!
At all their visits, the students enjoyed learning about the applications of STEM in disciplines they hadn’t considered before. They left their ‘Curiosity Afternoon’ feeling enlightened and excited to see what their futures hold.
Written by Maddy Thompson, Session B Communications Intern