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Teens tackle environmental challenges at STEM summit

QUT’s Future You STEM Summit
The STEM summit regional tour aims to make it easier for local students to be part of the popular Brisbane-based annual event.

QUT’s Future You STEM Summit for high-achieving teenagers has hit the road for its very first visit to Bundaberg as part of a regional tour.

The STEM summit regional tour aims to make it easier for local students to be part of the popular Brisbane-based annual event.

Nine Year 11 and 12 students from the Bundaberg and Gympie regions have been chosen to take part in the conference-style Bundaberg summit from November 30 to December 3, with a focus on STEM innovation and entrepreneurship.

The local schools represented at the Bundaberg summit are St Luke's Anglican School, Bundaberg State High School and Gympie State High School.

One of the highlights is a sustainable technologies team challenge that will ask them to use a “circular economy” model to develop an innovation that makes waste management more sustainable for water treatment.

QUT chemical process engineer, lecturer and researcher Dr Rachel Pepper will visit Bundaberg for the summit to work with the school students as an academic mentor.

She will be joined by two current QUT students – Lauren Drabwell, who is studying a Bachelor of Engineering and Sara Abbey who is studying a Bachelor of Science.

QUT’s Future You STEM Summit is held in Brisbane annually for senior school students, but this year made a successful regional debut in Townsville during the September school holidays.

Program manager Simone Long, from QUT’s Young Accelerators, said it was now spreading its wings further in the name of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

“We’re bringing the Future You STEM Summit to Bundaberg, Mackay, Cairns and Toowoomba to make it easier for local teenagers to meet our QUT researchers and students in person and be inspired about careers in STEM,” she said.

“Our free four-day program has a focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity, with projects that are tailored to each region.

“The students who will take part are smart, motivated and already have an interest in STEM. We aim to give them a taste of STEM technical skills and professional skills that will amplify their job prospects in the future.”

Each summit will include virtual sessions with guest speakers such as the Chief Scientist of Australia, Dr Cathy Foley, and in-person industry guest speed networking featuring local business and community leaders.

All summit students will join the 1000-strong cohort of graduates from QUT's previous STEM camps, with most of these students going on to further STEM study at university.

QUT’s Young Accelerators Program will deliver the Future You STEM Summits with support from QUT Entrepreneurship and Explore Your Future (Widening Participation).

The Young Accelerators program is an initiative funded by the QUT Vice-Chancellor and delivers high school engagement activities including free on-campus workshops, events, and professional learning across STEM disciplines to help schools understand the importance of STEM skills and the broad range of future study and career opportunities STEM offers.

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