More than 150 budding young scientists from Mabel Park State High School rolled up their sleeves this month as part of National Science Week to build solar lights, water filters and prosthetic hands for people in developing countries.

Through programs brought into the school by volunteers from Origin Energy, the students from years 7 to 10 received an insight into real life jobs in STEM and innovation while learning how they can help address global challenges such as energy poverty and water sanitation.

One of the students said their favourite part of the day was the session where their group followed detailed instructions to assemble prosthetic hands, which will be donated to landmine amputee victims in developing countries.

“I now know more about engineering and how it helps people,” they said.

Mabel Park State High School has welcomed volunteer industry professionals from Origin into their classrooms since 2015 as part of a partnership with the philanthropic Origin Energy Foundation to help increase connection between schools and businesses.

Students Jobelle Layla and Eloise with Origin volunteer Tania Carlos
Students Jobelle Layla and Eloise with Origin volunteer Tania Carlos

Stacey King, Head of Maths and Science teaching, was thrilled with the range of innovative learning opportunities the students have been given, along with the chance to make a significant difference in the lives of children less fortunate.

“Our partnership with Origin has shown students that anything is achievable. It has opened their eyes to a future of possibility.” 

“We all know the saying, ‘If you can see it, you can be it’.”

Approximately 750 students from Mabel Park State High School have taken part in work readiness and STEM programs since 2015 because of this partnership with the Origin Energy Foundation.

“Origin volunteers find it incredibly rewarding to see the impact of real-world STEM learning for the students as they become global citizens for the day and discover how science and engineering can improve people’s lives,” said Tania Carlos, Senior Manager, Origin Energy Foundation Specialist Programs.

Students Esita Ayan and Gloria with Origin volunteer Derek Freeman
Students Esita Ayan and Gloria with Origin volunteer Derek Freeman

“We are so proud to support the students at Mabel Park State High School and hope the programs help to inspire more young people to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering or maths,” Ms Carlos said.

These programs use learnings about the benefits of school-community partnerships from Purposeful Partnering, a new online educational resource developed by some of Australia’s leading education experts and commissioned by the Origin Energy Foundation.

Purposeful Partnering is available now at purposefulpartnering.org.au and includes guidance around how to meaningfully engage with students through partnerships.

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