NAB grant supports school partnership

La Trobe University in Albury-Wodonga, in partnership with Tallangatta Secondary College, has obtained a $15,000 funding grant through the National Australia Bank’s ‘Schools First’ program.

Alexei Rowles DEME microscope Albury-WodongaThe funding will support a partnership to provide Tallangatta College students with access to higher education pathways through engaging the students in ecological research at La Trobe.

‘The partnership is important because it gives Year 10 students from Tallangatta Secondary College the opportunity to come to La Trobe to take part in a real ecological research project,’ said Dr Alexei Rowles (pictured).

Dr Rowles, from La Trobe University's Albury-Wodonga campus, prepared the funding grant application in collaboration with Mr Geoff Edney, Science Coordinator at Tallangatta Secondary College.

The judges of the NAB ‘Schools First’ program said, ‘This partnership is a truly collaborative effort between two committed parties. It was great to see the expected benefits to students and the opportunities presented to the participating university students to share their experiences.’

Dr Rowles said that postgraduate students at La Trobe would play an important role in mentoring and supporting the year 10 students during their project.

‘Not only will this project allow students to fulfil an element of their year 10 curriculum, but they will also work with postgraduate ecology students at the University and will have the unique experience of studying on-campus here in Wodonga, thus demystifying the University experience for them,’ said Dr Rowles.

‘The subject of the research program will be ants – perhaps not an obvious choice due to their small size, but they play an important role in ecosystem function. Ants are a ubiquitous and very familiar part of our outdoor environment, so they are a good choice for introducing students to ecological research.’

Tallangatta Secondary College Principal Mr Albert Freijah is fully supportive of the program.

‘We are really excited about the opportunities that this program presents for our students,’ said Mr Freijah. ‘The funding that NAB has provided towards the program is really valuable as it will contribute to the many associated costs, such as for equipment, travel between the College and the University, and staff requirements.’

Professor Brian McGaw, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering at La Trobe University, said that receiving a grant from NAB demonstrates the importance of this  partnership.

‘Providing higher education pathways for rural secondary school students is a very important part of La Trobe’s role in regional areas,’ said Professor McGaw.

‘This partnership provides a tangible way of increasing the accessibility of higher education for students at Tallangatta Secondary College.’

The ecology project is being designed in partnership with Mr Geoff Edney at Tallangattta Secondary College, ensuring that it meets the requirements of the Australian science and environment curriculum for high school students. The project will begin next year, for students who are in year 10 in 2014.

Interview opportunity

Dr Alexei Rowles and Mr Geoff Edney are available for interview about the project.

Media contact

Dr Alexei Rowles, Department of Environmental Management and Ecology: T +61 2 6024 9868 | E

Suzi Macbeth, Media and Communications Officer: T + 61 3 9479 5353 | E