Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Girl Power Camp

Main picture: Sarah Linning meets Ms Leanne Nixon, Assistant Director-General, State Schools – Performance, DET and QAHS Foundation Principal.


group2 cropFrom 21-25 March, I had the privilege of being selected to attend the STEM Girl Power Camp with 60 other girls from around Queensland. During these five days, I had many incredible opportunities to participate in World Science Festival (WSF) sessions, SPARQ-ed lab experience (Students Performing Advanced Research Queensland), practice touring at the Gallery of Modern Art Brisbane (GOMA) and network with scientists at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute (UQDI) and the Translational Research Institute (TRI).

During the camp we attended four World Science Festival sessions with topics ranging from Artificial Intelligence to the relevance of STEM in the mining industry and how one degree is not restrictive to one job or particular area. We were also fortunate to hear Dr Karl speak to us about Extreme Moments in Science, including why toast lands butter side down and why it is better for cats to fall from above eight stories. All of these talks and discussions allowed me to better understand the importance of STEM in current jobs and occupations of the future, particularly in the area of scientific research methodologies and technology.

We had the unique opportunity to conduct Cell and Molecular Biology experiments using advanced techniques that cannot be performed in most school facilities. This included DNA Restriction and Electrophoresis experiments. While conducting the DNA Restriction experiment, we were required to separate the DNA from a particular sample using a centrifuge. This was a particular highlight for me as I had never used a centrifuge before.

group3cropWhile we attended GOMA we learnt how to communicate the STEM aspects of an artwork. We then used our new understandings to tour and explain these aspects to people from the community and to talk to them about what we had discovered and observed about the artwork in relation to STEM.

A final highlight of the 2017 STEM Power Girl camp was travelling to the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) where we chose to participate in one of three workshops, Webcam Hacking with Jaden Hastings, Wearable Tech for Sun Safety with Dr Rafael Gomez or STEAM Entrepreneurship Bootcamp with Professor Margaret Maile Petty.  Through the Webcam Hacking workshop, which I chose, and the talks that went with it, I learnt that you can link science and maths with art.

This was not where the camp ended though.  We will each continue to be STEM ambassadors for the rest of the year where we will promote STEM to primary schools and high schools. This will be an amazing experience, as STEM is, and will be such an important part in all jobs of the future.  I would highly encourage anyone who will be in grade 10 next year to apply for the camp as it is a great and valuable opportunity.

Linning, SarahSarah Linning
Year 10