What are you studying, and what do you like about it? I am in my third year of the Bachelor of Engineering (Robotics and Mechatronics)(Honours)/ Bachelor of Computer Science at Swinburne University of Technology. I love the interdisciplinary nature of my degree and the numerous opportunities it can lead to. The combination of mechanical, electrical, and computer sciences is an exciting crossroads that allows me ask the question ‘How does this work?’.
Why did you become an In2science mentor? STEM education has been a big part of my life, it only seemed natural that I should help communicate my experiences and ideas to younger generations who might be interested in pursuing a future in engineering or science. In addition, the prospect that I can make a positive impact on younger students, who were not as fortunate as I was at their age, fills me with a great deal of satisfaction.
Tell us about your In2science placement: Currently I’m placed in a year 8 science class at St Joseph’s College Ferntree Gully. This is my second placement with this class. My favourite experience has been the Martian science topic they covered last semester. I was able to arrange a visit from one of my classmates where we demonstrated the cool capabilities of a NAO Humanoid Robot to Karen’s class.
What’s the best thing about In2science? Being able to communicate to students on their level without the barriers of formality is where I believe I have the greatest impact. It’s exciting to have a casual chat with a student and see the spark in their eyes when they cross the conceptual hurdle of understanding.
What’s one of the biggest challenges about In2science? Convincing them I am not a teacher! Quite a few students don’t realize I am not a teacher but a volunteer that enjoys being there on the road of their education.
What inspired you to study what you are studying? Engineering is an exciting field. Reading about Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and their Apollo 11 mission inspired me to study engineering as it is an opportunity to have an impact on the physical world.
What do you want to do after you finish university and why? Space sciences have always fascinated me so if I could combine space and robotics that would be really interesting.
If you could have an hour to chat with any scientist, mathematician or engineer, who would it be and why? I’d love to meet Pierre Simon-Laplace, a famous mathematician who created the mathematical tools I use in robotic control.
What advice would you give other students looking to get involved in the In2science program?
Do it. It takes time to travel to the school and back but I never leave my placement sessions with any regrets. It will take time to learn how to act and behave in a classroom environment but the reward that you have made an impact on a young person’s perceptions about STEM is fulfilling beyond words.