Sci­ence of learn­ing

The Advertiser - Careers - - Cover Feature - Cara Jenkin Ca­reerOne Ed­i­tor

TEENAGERS are mak­ing a head start in their sci­en­tific ca­reers by tak­ing in­ten­sive lessons on the sub­ject in their high school class­room. Fu­elled with a pas­sion for sci­ence, stu­dents at the Aus­tralian Sci­ence and Math­e­mat­ics School are start­ing ca­reers on the front foot in oc­cu­pa­tions from chefs and teach­ers to en­gi­neers and sci­en­tists.

The school was es­tab­lished in 2003 and teaches stu­dents in Years 10, 11 and 12 who have a strong in­ter­est in maths and sci­ence.

Those dis­ci­plines are in­cor­po­rated into all school sub­jects, whether it be English, his­tory, ge­og­ra­phy or other hu­man­i­ties, to cap­i­talise on their in­ter­est and fur­ther ex­pand their knowl­edge.

As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Jim Davies, the school’s prin­ci­pal, said stu­dents grad­u­ated from the high school al­ready on the way to a va­ri­ety of ca­reers.

‘‘All the stu­dents who are com­ing here have some sort of in­ter­est in broader skills of sci­ence and math­e­mat­ics and are com­ing from a broad range of aca­demic abil­i­ties,’’ he said.

‘‘Stu­dents are com­ing to the school to get a skill-based ground­ing in sci­ence and math­e­mat­ics ar­eas.

‘‘A good-qual­ity sci­ence pro­gram can pro­vide for all sorts of path­ways.’’

Year 11 stu­dent Jes­sica Kli­nenko, 17, at­tends the school be­cause she likes fo­cus­ing her high-school learn­ing in an area for which she has a pas­sion and plans to pur­sue a ca­reer.

She said she was con­stantly chang­ing the oc­cu­pa­tion she wanted to pur­sue, but was now in­ter­ested in ar­chi­tec­tural en­gi­neer­ing.

‘‘I love the way things work, to find the an­swer to some­thing and a lot of prob­lem solv­ing,’’ she said.

‘‘The ar­chi­tec­tural side of it is de­sign­ing, which I also love do­ing, and to mix the two would be re­ally in­ter­est­ing.’’

She said she liked the hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties in classes and there was plenty of sup­port from like-minded stu­dents and teach­ers.

Grad­u­ate Liam Daly, 22, said the school gave him an ex­cel­lent head start into uni­ver­sity stud­ies.

This year, he fin­ished a Bach­e­lor of En­gi­neer­ing de­gree in com­puter elec­tron­ics, with hon­ours.

‘‘The cur­ricu­lum at ASMS set me up well for go­ing into uni­ver­sity, where we work in­di­vid­u­ally and in teams. I was able to move to the next level and hit the ground run­ning with my first-year top­ics,’’ he said.

‘‘There are jobs all over the world and I do en­joy trav­el­ling.’’

The Aus­tralian Sci­ence and Math­e­mat­ics School is not the usual type of learn­ing cen­tre, as emerg­ing ar­eas of sci­ence – such as nan­otech­nol­ogy, biotech­nol­ogy, laser sci­ence and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies – are in­cluded in the cur­ricu­lum.

The school has open-plan learn­ing ar­eas to en­cour­age col­lab­o­ra­tive teach­ing and in­ter­ac­tive learn­ing, and teach­ers are joined by in­ter­na­tional re­search sci­en­tists to help stu­dents with their work.

Many stu­dents pur­sue med­i­cal, en­gi­neer­ing or sci­ence de­grees at uni­ver­sity af­ter they grad­u­ate.

Oth­ers, how­ever, choose fur­ther stud­ies such as a dou­ble de­gree in law and en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­ence, health sciences, nurs­ing or vo­ca­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Davies said fu­ture chefs were in­ter­ested in food sci­ence, while elec­tri­cians en­joyed lessons fea­tur­ing tech­nol­ogy.

‘‘What young peo­ple are find­ing is that it pro­vides a fo­cus and gives them a broad range of op­tions,’’ he said.

‘‘It shows what’s pos­si­ble and what the con­nec­tions other ar­eas have with sci­ence.’’

For ex­am­ple, study­ing sci­ence pro­vided a great back­ground for a ca­reer as a sci­ence ed­u­ca­tor or teacher, or in fields such as com­mu­ni­ca­tions, in­dus­try and com­merce.

‘‘There’s a sig­nif­i­cant ca­reer path avail­able for sci­ence ed­u­ca­tors,’’ he said.

OPEN DOOR: Jes­sica Kli­nenko, a Year 11 stu­dent at the Aus­tralian Sci­ence and Maths School, is think­ing about a ca­reer in the sci­ence field, with the help of for­mer school grad­u­ate, Liam Daly, 22. Pic­tures, cover and above: DEANMARTIN

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