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National Science Week

The 2018 theme for National Science Week was ‘Game Changers, Change Makers’ and to celebrate, the Science Department scheduled a number of engaging lunchtime and class activities. We started the celebrations with the lunchtime screening of ‘Hidden Figures’ in the Hall. Students crunched on tasty popcorn while watching this film based on the true story of the women who worked at NASA during the Space Race in the 1960s. 

Students who entered the ‘Who Am I’ competition and were able to successfully name the four Australian Scientists (Professor Elizabeth Blackburn, Sir Howard Walter Florey, Professor Michelle Simmons and Professor Fiona Wood) and explain why they were each considered a ‘Game Changer’ were awarded an ice cream ticket. With these tickets, students were invited to sample the delicious ice cream made on the spot using liquid nitrogen. 

On Wednesday, 15 August, nine of our Year 10 students (Julia Cabai, Anna Litchen, Lucia Litchen, Teagan Matthews, Serena Potter, Olivia Redford, Emilia Sutherland, Zara Turner amd Bailey Webb) represented our college at the ‘Science Week at the Cathedral’ forum. Guest speakers included Felicity Furey, the new Engineer in Residence at the STEM Practice Academy at Swinburne University of Technology. Felicity is a consulting engineer and entrepreneur, and was recognised as one of the 100 most innovative engineers this year by Engineers Australia. She also cofounded the Power of Engineering, a social enterprise to engage students across the country to encourage them into STEM careers. Please see Anna and Lucia Litchen’s reflections below.

Just as Australia has a chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, Siena has our own STEM scientist, Madeleine Burchill. Madeleine Burchill is an engineer who works in the Aerospace Division – DSTO Australian Government Department of Defence Science and Technology.  Ms Burchill conducted workshops with our Year 9 and Senior students to help them learn more about STEM careers and the value of continuing with their Science and Mathematics studies. Ms Burchill discussed her learning journey and how it led to a STEM career as an Aerospace Engineer. Students also worked in teams and built Spaghetti Towers under a time limit.

During Thursday lunchtime, the nail biting Science Kahoot competition took place in the Susan Alberti Auditorium. Siena College’s very own Jade Devlin entertained the audience with her scientific banter while executing her Masters of Ceremony role. The week finished with great excitement as students entered the world of Virtual Reality and tried their skill at ‘Beat Saber’.  

I would like to thank Fay Mak, Theresa Azar, Sam Redman, Anthony George, Jennifer Levett and Dr Anthony Vadala, as well as all the Science Department for all their assistance and work behind the scenes in making all these events happen.

Assimina Semertjis
Head of Science

Student Reflections

'As part of National Science Week, a handful of Year 10 students were given the opportunity to listen to the experiences of the guest speakers involved in a range of scientific fields and ask questions concerning what new technologies and people influenced them. It was fascinating to learn from them and their discussion of the relationship between science and the society in creating game changing discoveries. Through my participation I was provided a greater insight to some of the many fields within science including biomedical engineering and cell research. I learnt how these areas of study can and have been applied to the modern world in order to benefit society. This day was enriched by the knowledge of these panelists and allowed me to develop a better understanding of the world of science and major breakthroughs within the field.'  Anna Litchen

'On 15 August, myself and a small group of Year 10s were given the exciting opportunity to attend Paul’s Cathedral in the city and listen to a panel of scientist who discussed the theme 'What is a Game Changer?' There was a diverse panel from biomedical engineers to philosophers, all of which who had contributed immensely to their field and creating these ‘game changers.’ We were able to interact with the panel by directly them asking questions about ethics in science, and it was enjoyable to hear how their experiences in science made their opinions differ. It was also interesting to learn how everything from government authority to religion can impact scientific developments.'  Lucia Litchen 

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