For the seventh consecutive year academics and student ambassadors from the School of BABS participated in the Year 10 Science Project at Willoughby Girls High School. Willoughby Girls High School is the top rated comprehensive high school in NSW. The purpose of the outreach project is to promote UNSW in the North Shore area and encourage students to study science in particular at the University. It is also an important opportunity for students to see the possibilities for women studying and working in STEM.

The two day event (held on the 12 November and 12 December 2019) involved over 150 Year 10 students. During the first day UNSW academics gave a series of 10 min presentations outlining the Faculty of Science and different schools profiles, followed by short overview of their individual research interests such as microbiology, biotechnology and neuroscience. Laurene Leclerc, a BABS Student Ambassador talked about her experience studying at UNSW.

In the month to follow the first day of the event, the students planned and conducted scientific investigations, presenting their findings to their class. The Science teachers then selected one group from each class who were to present their project at the second day of the event. UNSW academics, along with Willoughby Girls High School Science teachers formed the judging panel and selected the top two teams. The winning team received a UNSW certificate signed by the Dean along with a book prize and second place team also received a certificate.

Similarly to previous years, the 2019 presentations were well-crafted, articulate and represented broad spectrum of topics ranging from assessment of fermentation process to testing different consumer products. Most of the groups (6 presentations in total) covered scientific project elements including clear statements of hypotheses, materials used, risk assessments, results presentation and their discussion, including limitations.

Teachers and students alike spoke to the success of the event. The students were grateful for the presence and feedback from UNSW Academics. Almost all of those teams, including the winning group, sought out feedback from their Science teachers and read over the comments made on the judging sheets.

The following academics and student participated during both days this year:

  • Rebecca LeBard
  • Chris Marquis
  • Michael Janitz
  • Laurene Leclerc – BABS student ambassador