ANU researchers lead school students to science success

19 December 2017

A partnership between ANU scientists and Canberra’s Daramalan College has proven to be a science success story.

For the past four years, Daramalan students have been paired with an ANU scientist for mentoring on specific research projects, often developed by the students themselves.

As a result, Daramalan has been the most successful school in Australia for the past three years at the national BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards (BHPBSEA), with the largest number of finalists and semi-finalists. It was also this year awarded the Science Educators’ Association of the ACT (SEEACT) 2017 Science Fair Secondary Shield.

The projects undertaken by students range from researching rising sea levels in Antarctica to testing different materials in prosthetic hands.

“It was inspirational and also very interesting to see what goes on behind the big breakthroughs which scientists make, and all the small steps which go into the development of anything,” says student Rose Weller, who worked with Dr Bradley Stevenson from the ANU Research of Chemistry last year on research improving the detection of anabolic steroids.

 “Successfully completing an advanced open-ended science investigation mentored by an ANU scientist is a life-changing experience for Daramalan College students,” says Colin Price, the students' science teacher.

“The students deeply appreciate that these scientists give their time, resources and experience so that they can undertake science investigations that are beyond the resources and expertise available at a high school.

“[The students] are able to understand and apply new science concepts, see problems in their entirety and solve problems creatively and rigorously.”

Future students at Daramalan College can look forward to an exciting future in science thanks to the guidance and partnership of the passionate ANU research team.