QUT’s Future You STEM Summit is hitting the road for the first time to make it easier for regional Year 11 and 12 students to be part of the popular annual event and work together to solve real world challenges with a health focus.
The four-day summit (previously known as the QUT STEM Camp) has traditionally been held in Brisbane, but will make its regional debut in Townsville from September 28 with high-achieving local students who have successfully applied to take part in the program.
QUT will be back on the road again at the end of November to take the summit to teenagers in Bundaberg, Toowoomba, Gympie, Cairns, Mackay and Rockhampton.
Each regional summit will give the school students the opportunity to work with QUT researchers and students on practical projects that give them a taste of university life and future careers.
Townsville’s summit will be held at Smart Precinct NQ, with 21 local Year 11 and Year 12 students taking part frpm September 28 to October 1.
The students are from All Souls St Gabriel’s School, Home Hill State High School, Pimlico State High School, Townsville Grammar School, The Cathedral School of St Anne and St James, and Holly Spirit College Mackay.
Another 124 high schoolers will also be taking part in the Brisbane Future You STEM Summit at QUT’s Science and Engineering Centre at the Gardens Point campus over the same week.
Summit coordinator Simone Long from QUT’s Young Accelerators said the university was delighted to be kicking off its regional summits in Townsville and proud to be partnering with Smart Precinct NQ, which is funded by Townsville City Council and Advance Queensland.
“Smart Precinct NQ is focused on providing best practice programs that foster innovation and entrepreneurship to drive regional activation,” she said.
“The Future You STEM Summit is a four-day conference style program that will focus on leadership, entrepreneurship, and creativity.
“These local Year 11 and Year 12 students will work with a QUT researcher and current QUT students on a STEM entrepreneurship challenge.
“We’ve been running these events for eight years in Brisbane and have welcomed many students from regional areas over those years.
“But COVID is making it harder for students to travel so we’ve decided to bring the summit to them.
“The event is designed to provide students with a taste of STEM technical skills, as well as an opportunity to unlock a wide range of professional skills that will amplify their job prospects in the future.”
Ms Long said the Townsville students would take part in two challenges involving design solutions for improved and personalised healthcare.
“One involves coming up with a technology idea that would allow surgeons to keep track of their patients’ rehab progress at home, and the other challenge is to design a device or technology that could help healthcare professionals monitor a patient in a remote area who is suffering from an ongoing or chronic condition and can’t easily get to a hospital or doctor for check-ups,” she said.
QUT mechanical engineering lecturer and researcher Dr Edmund Pickering, and QUT student ambassadors Krishore Subramaniam (mechatronics engineering student) and Rani Stephensen (electrical engineering and business management student), will visit Townsville for the summit and design challenge workshops.
Dr Pickering said a career in STEM gave people an opportunity to make a difference.
“Coming from a regional area (Bundaberg), I want to inspire regional kids to do STEM and to tackle the problems of the 21st century with their unique regional perspectives,” he said.
Ms Long said the participating school students would learn about STEM pathways and careers and hear from industry leaders doing virtual sessions on how they used their STEM mindset every day.
“We’ll have speakers including the Chief Scientist of Australia, the Chief Entrepreneur of Queensland, and experts from BMW, Gremlin Inc and Engineers Australia streaming into Townsville to talk to students,” she said.
Local Townsville business and community leaders will also visit the summit to speak to students about their experiences, including local entrepreneur Dr Olaf Rusoke-Dierich who has invented a medical device for the health industry.
Applications are now open for the for the Future You STEM Summits in Bundaberg, Toowoomba, Gympie, Cairns, Mackay and Rockhampton. Interested Year 11 and 12 students should apply online by October 6.
QUT’s Young Accelerators Program delivers the Future You STEM Summit with support from QUT Entrepreneurship and Explore Your Future (Widening Participation).
The Young Accelerators program is an initiative funded by the QUT Vice-Chancellor and delivers high school engagement activities including free on-campus workshops, events, and professional learning across STEM disciplines to help schools understand the importance of STEM skills and the broad range of future study and career opportunities STEM offers.
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