Bridge to ed­u­ca­tion

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Noel Thomp­son noel.thomp­son@cnbtimes.com.au

CLIMB­ING and danc­ing atop the Story Bridge be­fore chant­ing to all of Bris­bane might seem a strange way to learn engi­neer­ing but it worked for 14-year-old Mun­dub­bera res­i­dent Jes­sica Keenan.

She at­tended a five-day Spark Engi­neer­ing Camp, a Youth With­out Bor­ders ini­tia­tive, dur­ing the June/July school hol­i­days and said she now had a goal in mind.

“It was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” Jess said.

“I learned so much about engi­neer­ing.”

Jess said she hoped to work in the field af­ter fin­ish­ing school and now knew what path­ways to take to reach that goal.

She had to sub­mit an es­say as part of her se­lec­tion for the camp and said she used “an engi­neer’s mind” to make an in­no­va­tion in her com­mu­nity that show­cased her ap­ti­tude for engi­neer­ing.

Jess chose the river­side walk be­neath Mun­dub­bera’s Bi­cen­ten­nial Park, which has been dam­aged and suf­fered ero­sion af­ter the two re­cent flood events.

“It was the best thing I have ever done. So much fun and I made so many new friends,” Jess said.

“The staff at camp were so sup­port­ive and kind.”

Day trips in­cluded a visit to CSIRO in Ken­more for the lat­est tech­nol­ogy in ro­bot­ics, where, un­der the guid­ance of spe­cial­ist fe­male en­gi­neers called Robo Gals, groups built LEGO ro­bots with mo­tors that could fol­low ba­sic com­mands.

“On cam­pus we did prob­lem-solv­ing and de­sign­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, at­tended lec­tures and mo­ti­va­tional speeches,” Jess said. “I met Aus­tralian De­fence Force Academy en­gi­neers who ex­plained the engi­neer­ing path­ways that are avail­able by join­ing the de­fence force. “Any­one who wants to learn more about engi­neer­ing should ap­ply for this camp.”

Sixty Aus­tralian stu­dents from Years 10–12 at­tended the Bris­bane camp, while one held si­mul­ta­ne­ously in Mel­bourne in­cluded 40 stu­dents.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

ONRIGHT PATH: Jes­sica Keenan chant­ing along with other engi­neer­ing camp stu­dents at the top of Bris­bane’s Story Bridge.

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