Building bridges to careers in science

Secondary school students from around Victoria competed in the national Science and Engineering Challenge.

Students from schools across Bendigo and Melbourne gathered for the Challenge. The program aims to address the national decline in the number of science and engineering university graduates by providing year 9 and 10 secondary school students with a positive experience of science and engineering.

Science and Engineering Challenge 2014

La Trobe University's Dr Elizabeth Johnson, said the Challenge was a great way to encourage secondary school students into the fields of science and engineering.

'The Challenge will draw on the students' competitive edge, with each school providing seven teams of up to four students who work on different activities in competition with the other schools.'

Dr Johnson said that Challenge activities require more than understanding scientific principles.

'When students tackled Challenge activities such as building the lightest bridge that can carry the heaviest load, they were required to think creatively and laterally.

'They needed to demonstrate the exact traits and skills a professional engineer or scientist uses when solving a problem. By giving young people opportunities to experience the challenges and rewards of this type of problem solving, we are encouraging them to pursue career in the practical sciences,' Dr Johnson said.

Bendigo and Melbourne's Science and Engineering Challenge are presented by the University of Newcastle, in cooperation with La Trobe University and the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.

Last year 2850 Australian secondary school students participated in the Challenge.

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