8 November 2017:
The world’s smallest fibre-optic probe that can simultaneously see and sense deeply inside the body (Dr Jiawen Li) and an anti-cancer drug that can be switched ‘on’ and ‘off’ inside the body to help reduce chemotherapy side effects (PhD student Kathryn Palasis). These were the research narratives developed by the two CNBP scientists who attended the ‘Fresh Science’ outreach training program on the 7th-8th November in Adelaide, South Australia.
“I had a great time participating in Fresh Science,” said Kathryn Palasis.
“We had a full day of media training which included practise interviews with journalists from TV, radio and print, who taught us how to best explain our science to the general public. We then had the opportunity to present our work to some very eager and inquisitive school students, and later had to summarise our research to a crowd at the pub in the time it took for a sparkler to burn out! It was a great learning experience and a lot of fun – plus I got to meet some really cool local researchers who are all doing exciting work.”
Dr Jiawen Li also enjoyed the experience. “What I got from the program was the ability to promote my science to the media, knowledge on how to be noticed by journalists and the experience of being interviewed, as well as broader presentation skills aimed at communicating complicated science concepts to a general audience. The two days were extremely rewarding!”
Fresh Science (run by Science in Public) is a national competition helping early-career researchers find, and then share, their stories of discovery. The program takes up-and-coming researchers with no media experience and turns them into spokespeople for science, with a day of media training and a public outreach event in their home state.
Below – Fresh Science participants. Kathryn Palasis fourth from left. Dr Jiawen Li fourth from right. Photo credit: Fresh Science/Science in Public.
6 November 2017:
Thirty-one Year 11 students from Concordia College visited CNBP headquarters at the University of Adelaide, 6th November 2017, further strengthening outreach engagement and linkages between the school and Centre researchers.
The students, part of the International Baccalaureate Science program, enjoyed presentations from CNBP researchers, participated in a Q&A regarding CNBP science, and undertook lab tours with Dr Jiawen Li who did a show and tell with Miniprobes technology. Students were then able to get hands-on with the mini-probe, experimenting with its capabilities on pieces of fruit which mimicked potential use on the human body.
As part of the outreach session – CNBP’s Dr Kyle Dunning talked about her research and its focus on reproductive health, Patrick Capon and Aimee Horsfall presented chemistry and its use in CNBP sensing technology and Dr Georgios Tsiminis talked about his own physics journey and the sensing work that he is now working on in the meat and dairy space.
Feedback from Joanne Rogers, Head of Science at Concordia College, noted that she thought this outreach session was, “The best yet with CNBP.”
Below – photos from the visit.
16 October 2017:
Centre Associate Investigator, Dr Kate Fox from RMIT University has participated in the Ecolinc STEM for Women program in Melbourne, Oct 16th, 2017.
Ninety students (Years 9 and 10) attended the event where they got to learn of the experiences from a range of women who work in a variety of STEM related areas. They also heard from education providers about potential career pathways in STEM and listened to the career journeys of successful women in science.
The students were from Upper Yarra, St Albans, Dandenong, Southern Cross Grammar, Bacchus Marsh, Overnewton College, Highview College, Bellarine and Whittlesea.
14 September 2017:
Eighty Concordia College students with an interest in STEM undertook a series of educational tours at CNBP laboratories at the University of Adelaide—forty students visiting Wednesday 6th September and a further forty students visiting Wednesday 13th September, 2017.
The students were hosted by a number of CNBP researchers, undertaking laboratory tours in both the Braggs and Health and Medical Sciences buildings.
As well as getting an introduction to CNBP and biophotonic related science, the students were shown a range of CNBP activity and work-spaces. This included demonstrations of advanced needle probes and optical imaging systems, hands-on demonstrations of near-infrared light scanners, use of a 3D metal printer and tours of the Centre’s glass and optical fibre fabrication facilities, as well as tours of the embryology laboratory where embryo culture and cryopreservation techniques were also able to be shown.
Emily Johnson, Middle Years Programme Coordinator from Concordia College noted, “All of the students (and teachers) really enjoyed the sessions. They came back quite buzzing and extremely interested in what they saw.”
Feedback from the CNBP researchers was also extremely positive with many noting the excellent questions posed by the students during the lab tour demonstrations and activity.
31 August 2017:
Caritas College students visiting the University of Adelaide for a ‘science day’ were shown around laboratory spaces in the Braggs Building by CNBP PHD students Kathryn Palasis (pictured) and Georgina Sylvia.
The 23 Year 9 school students were given a tour through a synthetic chemistry lab and then spoke with both CNBP researchers about the work being done and their journeys through University. This was followed by a further tour through a fibre-optics laboratory.
According to Kathryn, “The students seemed engaged and interested, particularly with the fibre-optics tour. And feedback from Amy (who organised the day) was that the students enjoyed it and that the teachers were very appreciative. Personally I spoke to a girl who said she was interested in studying science at university which was very pleasing to hear, and hopefully we encouraged others to see it as an appealing career path as well.”
16 August 2017:
Students from Concordia College got the low-down on STEM careers—as well as learnt more about lasers, laboratories and the life of a scientist at a school outreach event organised and run by CNBP researchers from the University of Adelaide.
The event, celebrating National Science Week, saw a team of CNBP scientists and researchers visit Concordia College and present a variety of talks, DIY laboratory videos and science demonstrations, to over 150 Year 9 students with an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
CNBP’s Dr Hannah Brown, present on the day, sees outreach as a key responsibility for the science community.
“Getting high school students interested and engaged in STEM subjects is critical—not only to inspire future generations of young scientists but also in supporting the Australian economy more generally. What we hope to do with our outreach efforts is to show that science and technology can be fun and exciting, and potentially rewarding as a future career choice as well.”
Following the event, feedback from both students and teachers present was hugely positive with the CNBP team also gaining a great deal of satisfaction from their interactions and demonstration efforts.
Below: CNBP researchers Hannah Brown, Georgios Tsiminis, Patrick Capon and Aimee Horsfall with students, at the conclusion of a successful session of science outreach at Concordia College.
15 August 2017:
Emma Wilson, CNBP PhD student has participated in a ‘Girls in Physics’ outreach program run by the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network in Melbourne, August 15, 2017.
The program, a breakfast event whereby female scientists working in physics or related areas, are teamed up with a table of Year 11/12 female students, is an opportunity to encourage young women to take up further studies in STEMM related subjects after high school.
“This year the main speaker presenting was Katie Mack, an Astrophysicist,” says Emma.
“The aim of the breakfast is to inspire young women and to have people such as myself on hand to answer any questions the students might have regarding a career as a scientist.”
12 July 2017:
Around fifty high performing Year 10 to Year 12 students from Australia and New Zealand came to RMIT on the 11th of July to listen to CNBP Chief Investigator Prof Andy Greentree present a talk titled “Colour: the palette of the mind.”
The talk was a part of the Youth ANZAAS visit to RMIT University. Youth ANZAAS 2017 is organised by the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Society of New Zealand. It is is an annual residential international forum for science students still at school.
An abstract of Prof Greentree’s talk follows:
Colour is a complicated phenomenon! For most of us, most of the information we receive about the world comes from light, and that light is encoded by colour. This talk will explore colour. From the physics of light, to how we detect colour information, to the psychophysics of how our brain understands those signals to make sense of the world.
15 June 2017:
Dr Nima Sayyadi, CNBP researcher, has undertaken guest judging duties at the 2017 Sydney Girls High School Science Conference.
Each year students at Sydney Girls High School complete a research project as part of the NSW Science Curriculum. This project provides Year 9 students with an opportunity to design and perform an investigation into an area of their choice. The annual Science Conference then gives the students a forum where they can present their research to an expert panel.
The panel not only provides students with feedback relating to their investigation, but also determines the projects worthy of further recognition. The determination considers both experimental design and the ability of the student to communicate their ideas.
According to Nima, the standard of work on display was of an incredibly high standard.
“The way that the young students designed their research projects – the hypotheses and preparation and understanding of data limitations was generally quite remarkable.”
Projects being showcased included DNA extraction from fruits with limited facilities through to the analysis of the plastic waste found in water on different beaches in Sydney.
“It was a great experience for me to meet the students, teachers, and other judges from different universities at this event,” concluded Nima.
“Hopefully the passion that these students show for science continues through High School and into tertiary education and beyond.”
10 June 2017:
Dr Martin Ploschner, CNBP Researcher, has taken his outreach skills to the Czech and Slovak School, Sydney where he performed several hands-on science shows for approximately 100 students, all aged 10 and under.
The show connected fun light-based activities with CNBP science and included the creation of gigantic fluorescent bubbles as well as the use of fluorescent screens that were able to be used as canvas that could be ‘painted on’ with light.
“I had a great time at the school and the activities were very well received,” says Martin.
“The younger kids had fun and the older children asked a lot of questions about the science behind the show. As an added bonus, I was invited back for further school open days as well!”