CQ University STEM expo educates and inspires generations
When Jacob Van Itallie stepped into the CQUniversity Gladstone campus STEM expo he was immediately in his element.
The 10 year old, who is home-schooled at Calliope, said he enjoyed getting ‘hands on’ with a number of exhibits.
“I liked seeing all the gadgets, electronic and technology stuff because I enjoy all of that,” he said.
“I found it cool at the air quality exhibition how they had a sensor that tells you every three seconds what’s in the air.
“It feeds into a database that monitors air all around the world.”
The self-described car fanatic reads Wheels magazine from cover to cover, quickly recalling car makes, designs, prices and power.
“I want to work with cars when I finish school,” he said.
“Cars are such cool machines because I like anything with motors.
“There are all different designs of cars that are capable of all different things.”
The second annual CQUniversity STEM expo featured technology and information associated with everything from saving the Great Barrier Reef, turtle nesting and habitats, and coastal marine ecosystem research, to responsible waste management and protecting Gladstone Harbour.
Students and teachers from primary school level to university post graduates absorbed the knowledge on display at Gladstone’s marina campus.
Guest of honour was Queensland chief scientist Professor Hugh Possingham, who presented a key note address on the importance of science and mathematics in shaping the future.
“I love nature and I went to university thinking I was going to save the planet,” he said.
“I loved what science could do and I loved what maths could do.
“So when I realised I could combine both of them, I was satisfied.
“The mathematics I learned was what built the Great Barrier Reef green zones.
“If you end up doing something where people can see the data informing a position, that’s rewarding.”
A key part of his role, Prof Possingham said, was to advocate citizen science around Queensland.
“The ultimate goal of citizen science is to make Australian democracy a real democracy, which it isn’t,” he said.
When he wasn’t ‘on the road’ advocating and encouraging citizen science, Prof Possingham said he resolved scientific problems for the government that cut across a number of government departments.
To achieve this, Prof Possingham uses his convening powers to get the best, most up to date answers for the Queensland government.