Questacon’s Free Fall exhibition. Source: Questacon.
John Ross, Questacon does homework before advising students on STEM careers, The Weekend Australian, 15 June 2016
Context is everything when you are trying to convert students into STEM enthusiasts, last week’s REWIRE forum heard.
Stuart Kohlhagen, director of learning with national science and technology centre Questacon, told the audience that promoters of STEM needed to do their homework and research local technology opportunities before trying to spread the word.
“There’s no point going to Dubbo and talking about aerospace,” Dr Kohlhagen said. “There are some very interesting hi-tech STEM careers available in regional Australia … but there’s no point thinking you might work for NASA if there’s just agricultural industries around you.”
Questacon’s Smart Skills program tours Australia to engage young people in technology and innovation, focusing on underprivileged areas. Before each visit, an advance party explores the local graduate job opportunities to “find the right topics”.
“If we get you excited and motivated, and tell you that you should think about STEM careers, we need to point you in the direction of where those real opportunities are before we leave,” he told the Sydney forum. “We always try to connect students to the next point in that conveyor belt. They discover that there are some really cool people in town who they never even knew about. It opens their eyes to what STEM careers really are like.”