Secondary school students who live in regional Western Australia are significantly restricted in terms of their access to science-focused opportunities. The Travelling Scientist Program was established in the SPICE program at The University of Western Australia in 2009 to provide remote and regional secondary school students exposure to inspiring young scientists who act as positive role models offering encouragement to explore tertiary study in science and technology.
The actual Travelling Scientists are young doctoral candidates from a range of scientific disciplines who are invited to participate in the program. Their very visual presentation focuses on their personal journey in science and only briefly refers to their actual research.
The Travelling Scientist visit allows secondary students to interact with young scientists as real people working on real problems and issues. The program opens up study and career options that the secondary students previously considered out of their reach.Anecdotal feedback from participating schools has been very positive.
Teacher: The visits made to X by visiting scientists have been very popular and particularly motivating for Year 8-10 students especially in encouraging girls to think seriously about science based career futures. There is no other way for us to access these exciting and positive role models thank you.
Female student: I haven’t thought about going to university and this has sort of opened up my options. I learned that there are heaps of different topics to study in science and I didn’t realise there were so many.
It is clear that there are considerable benefits to the schools and secondary students however the impact on the doctoral students involved in the Travelling Scientists program has not been considered. There are seemingly obvious benefits such as being able to develop their personal presentation and public speaking skills however it is likely that there are personal benefits that are not immediately apparent.
This presentation therefore focuses on the impact of participation in the Travelling Scientist program on the travelling scientists themselves. What are they personally gaining from participating in the program? The current travelling scientists (n=5) will be asked to 1) complete a questionnaire and 2) participate in a focus group. Expected outcomes include a greater understanding of the role that such an experience can play in the development of career research scientists.
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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

The making of science communicators
The impact of participation in a school engagement program on doctoral science students

Jan Dook   The University of Western Australia

Secondary school students who live in regional Western Australia are significantly restricted in terms of their access to science-focused opportunities. The Travelling Scientist Program was established in the SPICE program at The University of Western Australia in 2009 to provide remote and regional secondary school students exposure to inspiring young scientists who act as positive role models offering encouragement to explore tertiary study in science and technology.
The actual Travelling Scientists are young doctoral candidates from a range of scientific disciplines who are invited to participate in the program. Their very visual presentation focuses on their personal journey in science and only briefly refers to their actual research.
The Travelling Scientist visit allows secondary students to interact with young scientists as real people working on real problems and issues. The program opens up study and career options that the secondary students previously considered out of their reach.Anecdotal feedback from participating schools has been very positive.
Teacher: The visits made to X by visiting scientists have been very popular and particularly motivating for Year 8-10 students especially in encouraging girls to think seriously about science based career futures. There is no other way for us to access these exciting and positive role models thank you.
Female student: I haven’t thought about going to university and this has sort of opened up my options. I learned that there are heaps of different topics to study in science and I didn’t realise there were so many.
It is clear that there are considerable benefits to the schools and secondary students however the impact on the doctoral students involved in the Travelling Scientists program has not been considered. There are seemingly obvious benefits such as being able to develop their personal presentation and public speaking skills however it is likely that there are personal benefits that are not immediately apparent.
This presentation therefore focuses on the impact of participation in the Travelling Scientist program on the travelling scientists themselves. What are they personally gaining from participating in the program? The current travelling scientists (n=5) will be asked to 1) complete a questionnaire and 2) participate in a focus group. Expected outcomes include a greater understanding of the role that such an experience can play in the development of career research scientists.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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