Superstar of STEM and CNBP researcher Dr Sanam Mustafa has taken her outreach skills to Adelaide High School, speaking to approximately 300 Year 9 students (across two sessions) about her scientific activity, her career as a scientist and what it takes to succeed in a University environment.
“My talk was extremely well received by the students and teaching staff,” said Dr Mustafa. “They loved the personal stories and hearing about the light-focused science that we do at the CNBP.”
As part of her outreach activity at the school, Dr Mustafa also ran an interactive workshop for students, aimed at illustrating the importance of developing tests to quantify levels of pain for both human and animal populations.
“The students, in groups of about 10 were asked to discuss painful conditions that they had experienced and to try to find a common experience (maybe a paper cut or sprained ankle for instance). I then asked them to rate their pain from a scale of 1-10 to see how this varied within the group to demonstrate the subjectivity,” says Dr Mustafa.
“I then asked the groups to discuss if and why this subjectivity is a problem – such as inability of small children to describe pain, an inaccurate description of pain resulting in the administration of wrong medication and deliberate manipulation of pain scores for drug seeking behaviour.”
“Finally, I told the students how I hoped to develop a test to quantify pain to help overcome this subjectivity and showed them a slide demonstrating the ‘colour of pain’ from our ongoing hyperspectral work.”
“Feedback from the day was extremely positive,” concluded Dr Mustafa. “And it was fantastic to see so many engaged students actively thinking about science and how it has the potential to have such a beneficial and positive impact on society.”