Holly & Natasha shares their ConocoPhillips Science Experience

Over the Christmas holidays, a small group of students represented St John Fisher College at ConocoPhillips Science Experience at The University Queensland’s St Lucia Campus. The students representation was the result of sponsorship provided by The Rotary Club of Aspley, as well as the College, which enabled Holly Megaw, Helen Frith, Lily Brown, Jayantika Singh, Celina Krueger and Natasha Simko to participate in the program. 

Here is Year 11 student Holly's retell of her amazing experience & Natasha's, Yr 10 to follow. ​​​_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

HollyMeagaw.JPGAs you are aware over the recent school holidays I was honoured to have been selected to represent St John Fisher College at ConocoPhillips Science Experience at The University Queensland’s St Lucia Campus.  I am greatly appreciative of the sponsorship provided by The Rotary Club of Aspley, as well as the College, which enabled myself as well as several other St John Fisher College students to participate in the program.  

I was privileged to have access to world renowned speakers, scientists, and lecturers in addition to present and past students of the university, many of whom are professionals in their field of science.  We also networked with other students from throughout Queensland and New South Wales. 

I was able to explore depths of science, facilitated via hands on experiments,  which I  never thought were possible, including access to the laboratories where the vaccine for the current world health crisis, Coronavirus, is to be developed.

We participated in laboratory experiments in forensic entomology,  including the dissection of a maggot, to demonstrate the forensics involved in testing time of death.  Another interesting session with a PhD Neurology graduate, titled “Learning to Live with a Brain”  informed us about the studies involved in anesthesia, and the current scientific understanding of how the brain’s neuron’s respond.  Another Dr in the field of Neurology allowed us to open our minds to a quick and easy memory game which demonstrated to us how the mind can be trained. 

The experience went further to link the business world of being an entrepreneur, and utilizing science to solve modern world problems. For example,the quality of water supply amongst a range of differing socioeconomic demographics.

The Supernova BBQ and disco allowed everyone to mix in a less formal environment and assisted us to form friendships that may assist with our studies in the future.  By networking with students who may be studying or have graduated in the fields of biomedical science, chemistry, biology and engineering, the panel of UQ researchers were sharing their passion for science and the realities of how we all need and even rely upon scientific research.

Our last day saw us tour the laboratories as well as seeing the largest microscope in the Southern Hemisphere. Our parents were then invited to attend a closing ceremony in which we were introduced to an electrical engineer employed by ConocoPhillips (International Energy Corporation), who detailed what her job involves, and what her pathway had been to achieve this. 

I have found this to be a valuable learning experience and would highly recommend to any future students who are looking to explore the field of science, specifically scientific research, to attend.

Thanks again to St John Fisher College and the Rotary Club of Aspley for facilitating this experience.

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Natasha Simko shares her experience

The ConocoPhillips science experience was rewarding in so many ways. Over the period of four days I was able to attend three different universities which include QUT Gardens Point, Griffith University Nathan as well as UQ in St Lucia. Over the course of these four days I took part in a number of practical experiments in areas like chemistry, forensic science and physics. As well as experiments, I had the privilege of attending a few lectures on mathematics, microbiology as well as astrophysics. While being able to further my science skills and learn new things the experience allowed for many other great opportunities like meeting new people, innovation challenges and signing up for the Young Scientists of Australia or YSA for short. 

YSA opens up pathways into science and provides many opportunities like being able to become a group leader to the ConocoPhillips Experience next year as well as being able to take part in science demonstration groups and other YSA hosted events. Overall I found the experience rewarding and fun and would recommend to any science enthusiasts to sign up next year!

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