Twelve Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (EMS) student ambassadors have returned from a unique trip to the Kimberley. The students explored Western Australia’s remote Broome region, promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics to high school students.
Coordinated by Broome Senior High School, the Kimberley Cup is an annual sports carnival which invites a range of schools from across the Kimberley region. Under the guidance of a UWA Sport representative, student ambassadors helped to umpire and cheer on the games. They also shared their experiences and knowledge of study and career options after high school for those in regional WA.
Led by education specialists from Aspire UWA and the School of Indigenous Studies (SIS), and assisted by current UWA indigenous students from the Kimberley region, the student ambassadors created, organised and facilitated practical and fun classroom activities at Broome Senior High School and St Mary’s College.
On their return, the students were set a reflective assignment to identify learnings from their experience.
Chemical Engineering student Nicholas Seaman said, “It was awesome to make these connections with the Broome students, which in turn gave me a deeper understanding of how everyone is really family to everyone else in such regions as the Kimberley.
Many clearly have a special bond to the land and outback that surrounds Broome. They feel at home there and moving away to a large, loud city could be an uncomfortable move, so it is not a simple scenario. After tertiary study, they could return to assist in spreading the word to their communities about the great opportunities that they may be interested in pursuing.”
Girls in Engineering Outreach Coordinator Madeline Hermawan said the trip strengthens constructive messages about education to the community whilst helping to form lasting relationships and support those in remote locations.
“Giving back to the community fosters ambitions and demonstrates that university studies are an achievable aspiration.” said Madeline.
“The ambassadors are encouraged to share their personal journey on why they chose to pursue higher education, especially for the four students that grew up in the Kimberley region. Not only do they inspire students to think more broadly about STEM and how Engineering can help to improve communities, but they take away an invaluable, rewarding experience and insight into working with regional communities.”
When the ambassadors were asked to reflect on their experience, engineering student Chelsea Bambrick said: “This trip was an amazing opportunity for us to experience regional life, understand the broader community and engage with a diverse range of people. We were invited to participate in the NAIDOC march with the wider community, which was so inspiring to see the entire community coming together in support of such an important cause and seeing a multicultural, diverse group of people.”
In addition to the school activities, the group heard passionate speeches from community leaders and enjoyed indigenous performances by local primary school students.
The trip forms part of an ongoing partnership between EMS, Aspire UWA and SIS to engage schools, community, alumni and industry throughout the Kimberley region.
Lauren Humfrey (UWA Faculty of Engineering Mathematical Sciences) (+61 8) 6488 2260
Madeline Hermawan (UWA Faculty of Engineering Mathematical Sciences) (+61 8) 6488 7886