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Supporting Young Scientists Equity and Access Program

Previous program highlights

Embers Robotics Incorporated - Melbourne Robotics Tournament 

Embers Robotics attended the Melbourne Robotics Tournament thanks to the support of the Office of NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer. Embers Robotics team 7583 was represented by 17 students from several high schools across the Wollongong area and participated in the three-day event from 30 June to 2 July 2023 along with teams from Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales. This FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) event was the only event in Victoria in 2023 and is an important milestone to encourage students to get actively involved in STEM by building, programming and driving a 25kg robot in alliances of three to conquer challenges on the large playing field.

‘Supporting students to participate in STEM through robotics is a life-changing experience. Travelling to interact and engage with real-world professionals, alongside students from other states develops teamwork, encourages resilience and builds leaders of the future. Embers Robotics is grateful for the support of Office of NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer’. Ms Natasha Debsieh. President, Embers Robotics.

Embers Robotics

1st Oyster Bay Scouts, First Lego League Challenge

In the First Lego League challenge, a team of youths work together to design and build a robot to complete obstacle challenges. They prepared a presentation to explain their design and compete in a competition with other teams. They also design a solution to an innovation problem, including a prototype and a presentation. The robot is built using the Spike Prime Lego kit and programmed using Scratch. This program inspires young people to experiment and grow their confidence, critical thinking, and design skills through hands- on learning.

‘The First Lego League Program has been so much fun for our Scouts. We have a dozen kids participating in the program. The Spike Prime application contains all the materials to walk the kids through how to program at their own pace, so it’s been easy to engage kids with different interests and experiences each week’. Adam Little. Funds Coordinator, 1st Oyster Bay Scouts.

1st Oyster Bay Scouts

Great Lakes College, Lady Elliot Environment Excursion

At Great Lakes College, Marine Studies arrange excursions twice a year for Year 9/10 students to study and observe the abundance of marine life within the highly protected “Green Zone” and Coral Cay. It is an eco-tourism resort that has an amazing array of spectacular marine life, and it gives students a once in a lifetime experience. Activity highlights include seeing turtles in their natural habitat nesting and laying their eggs and taking a ride on a glass bottom boat.

‘Once in a lifetime experience for students snorkelling in a marine sanctuary’. Mr Scott Brown. Principal, Great Lakes College

lady elliott island

St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill – (Joebots 9417 Team), First Robotics Competition

The purpose of JOEBOTS 9147 participation in the Regional FRC First Robotics Competition was to work towards a flagship event for the newly formed Robotics and Co-curricular program at St Joseph's College. The FRC competition event was a three-day competition that involved teams from all over the Asia Pacific region, culminating in selection for the international event in Houston, Texas. Prior to the competition, there is a six-week ‘build season where members of the team received the challenge parameters and had to plan solutions for building the robot. The boys were supported by a very enthusiastic Cheer Squad who worked hard throughout the build season to promote, enthuse, and develop the team spirit amongst the group.

‘The competition was a great opportunity for our students to showcase their skills in STEM and soft skills such as collaboration, entrepreneurship, and problem-solving, all the while strengthening the ties these boys have as they fought to achieve a common goal’. Ms The van Os. Outreach Teacher for Joebots 9147 – Robotics Co-Curricular, St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill.

St Joseph’s College

Narooma High School, FIRST Championship 2023 

The Narooma High School 2023 RoboRebels team qualified to attend the World championship for the FIRST Robotics Competition held in Houston Texas. This was an incredible opportunity. It required a mammoth community effort to raise the necessary funds and permissions so the team could attend. Nine students from Years 12 and 10 attended the Competition. Students competed with over 600 teams, made up of more than 30,000 students from around the world in a 3-day robotics competition.

‘It was amazing to have the community supporting us throughout our journey to Houston. We had everyone backing us, from local families and businesses to our local member of parliament, Kristy McBain, and even the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. We will repay this debt by making the STEM field more accessible to local communities, allowing the future generations more of a choice in what they want to do in the future’. Kye Potter. Student, Narooma High School.

Narooma High School

Project Bucephalus Robotics Team - FIRST Championship 2023 

Attended by 700 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams from around the world, the FIRST World Championships were both a celebration of the achievements of each team and an elite-level competition. As an independent community team from Wollongong, Project Bucephalus performed with extreme reliability and flexibility, filling the gaps in gameplay and collaborating with the highest-level teams – forming long-term connections in the process.

In this 700-team competition, Project Bucephalus was named one of the six finalists for the Impact Award – the most prestigious award in the FIRST program. This honour makes the team as one of the top six teams in the world for STEM Education, outreach, and positive change in the community – and also earns the team a return visit to the Championships in 2024!

Project Bucephalus

National Mathematics Summer School - Hurlstone Agricultural High School.

Students were exposed to exciting higher-level mathematics concepts, which are ordinarily reserved for university study and run in complete contrast to the relative monotony of high-school mathematics. The course gave students opportunities to put this learning to use with difficult problems which challenged their reasoning and creativity. More broadly students were given a taste of the experience of university level mathematical study. Further highlights - that were less related to the course itself - included hearing impassioned talks and lectures from NMSS lecturers and guests on mathematics, science, finance and careers; meeting likeminded people from across the country and making unique friendships; participating in the many student-run games and excursions held throughout the 2 weeks. Th Office of NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer supported a single Hurlstone Agricultural High School student to attend this activity.


Willyama High School - Biology Fieldwork Depth Study

The aim was also for students to develop an appreciation and understanding of biological concepts that are used to explore the diversity of life, from a molecular to a biological systems level, and the interactions between living things and the environments in which they live. Broken Hill is an arid environment that is difficult to find locations that contain diverse flora and fauna for students to record and collect quality data in order to complete their investigations.

‘Calperum Station provides a fascinating backdrop to engage, train and inspire. The ecology on-country educational retreat is designed to develop student knowledge in areas including ecology, environment, conservation, landscape management and Indigenous culture. With a focus on hands-on activities that links in with the NSW Biology syllabus, students participated in exercises including water quality monitoring, pitfall trapping, mammal and reptile surveys and cultural activities’. Miss Ashleigh Forbes. Teacher, Willyama High School.

Willyama High School