Rotary Science Experience

The Rotary Science Experience is a fun 3 or 4 days of science activities for students in grades 9-10 from local schools and colleges.

Each program is designed to provide students who have an interest in science with an opportunity to engage in a wide range of fascinating science activities under the guidance of scientists who love their work.

Participants perform experiments in the laboratories, meet and hear senior lecturers in the lecture theatres, attend site visits and walk around and experience what it is like to be on the campus of a university or tertiary institution.

The program also provides information about further studies in science, technology and engineering. It highlights the wide range of careers that allow students to pursue their interest and abilities in the sciences and even opportunities to be endorsed/sponsored. 

In 2018 the ConocoPhillips Rotary Science Experience was conducted at QUT, UQ and Griffith University from 16th to 19th January. 

This year’s participants and their schools/colleges were Georgia Bonamy – Wynnum State High School. Jakob Scottney-Turnbill - Brisbane Bayside State College, Lily McDonald - Moreton Bay College, Jye Smith - Iona College., Kia McDougall - Moreton Bay Boy’s College. 

The long-term benefits of this programme and its predecessor sponsored then by Siemens was underlined with the presence and participation of Special Guest Speaker, Emily Furlong, formerly from Lourdes Hill College, who had attended the predecessor program the 2008 Siemens Rotary Science Experience. Some of her words on the night illustrate the point well:

"I am finding it quite hard to believe that ten years ago I stood up here and reported to this meeting about my time at the Siemens Science experience, as it was called back then. I feel very privileged to be able to come back and tell you about what I have done since then. 

Attending the Siemens Science Experience had a significant influence on where I am today. It confirmed my love for science and made me realise that I could actually study and do this thing that I loved after I finished school." 

Emily went on to earn a bachelor degree and a masters degree at the University of Queensland  and then a PhD In February 2019 Emily sent the following by email: 

I submitted my PhD thesis in October last year and am still waiting for it to be approved, so Im not officially a doctor yet!

This week I started work as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford. I have attached a picture of the building where I am working.

Fun fact, this is the building where Howard Florey and co-workers developed the antibiotic penicillin into a usable drug.

My postdoctoral work will be on understanding the type 3 secretion system in bacteria. The type 3 secretion system is essentially a “nano-needle” that bacteria use to inject molecules (such as toxins) into other cells. If you’ve ever had bacterial food poisoning, the type 3 secretion system is one of the weapons that the bacteria would have used to actually make you sick.

I am hoping to spend a few years here in Oxford and then move back to Australia to continue research in the area of bacterial pathogenesis, but who knows what will happen! There is so much that is out of my control.”

This is just one great example of the impact this program has.      See more about the program