BHP Science and Engineering Awards – National Finalist

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cy Cohen, 2021 Year 8 Overall Winner for the Marymount Science Project Night, went on to not only place first at State level for her Engineering Project Twin Fin Pull Buoy but also placed in the top 8 Engineering Projects nationally (against all year levels 7-12). Congratulations Lucy on your hard work, innovative idea and dedication to achieve this success.

Yvonne Crowley
Science Teacher

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DAY 1:

On day 1, we had what they call a 'team meeting' as our first session, this is where all 25 of us from the BHP and The Indigenous STEM Awards winners all come together and just chat about each other's projects and things that are happening. Kind of like a pastoral class! (We have one every morning then after sessions).  For this session (or team meeting), it was more just a welcome into the BHP awards and camp. For session 2, we had a group activity which was more just a learning session where we met the team at the Parkes Radio Telescope. We got to search for pulsars in space! This first activity was very long and pretty confusing for me with all the terminology they used but, in the end, it was super cool and I loved it. We also did a lot of communicating exercises to get more comfortable with public speaking. That night we all received a $50 uber eats gift voucher for our dinner, then we had a formal welcome where we formally introduced ourselves and had dinner together.

 

DAY 2:

Today we had 4 site visits where we got to see different things like labs!

The first one we went to was the CSIRO RV Investigator in Hobart Tasmania. We got to look inside the ship and at all the different labs inside during a virtual tour led by a scientist! The second site was the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (or ACDP). Here we did a little virtual tour but mostly just got to ask questions and learn about different vaccines and other molecular things. We also learnt a lot about the Moderna vaccine that they trialled on ferrets before humans! The third site we went to was the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in WA. We had a virtual tour of the computer; how it works and what it does. The last site (and definitely my favourite) was the CSIRO Mixed Reality Lab. We had a virtual tour of the lab and got to see some of the virtual and mixed reality they have created. This one was my favourite as I was really involved with questions and actually some ideas for them! I spoke to them a lot about the possibilities of using virtual realities with medical practices, learning and experiences that could be done virtually as well as some other things such as scientific experiments, virtual shopping and more! They asked me some questions too about what I was speaking to them about which was really a surprise! I got really involved in it and it was super interesting for me! Tonight, there was a celebration for the 40th anniversary of BHP Foundations Science and Engineering Awards. There were presentations, networking and celebrating with some of the students as well as some alumni and others!

  

DAY 3 – Presentation Day:

At first I was actually super nervous to present to the panel today, but the team meeting they explained that for the last 2 years (since COVID began) the whole awards experience has not been considered competitive. Instead this section commemorates those who have created amazing projects during unstable times as well as an experience to practise presenting and public speaking. Luckily, this meant we were able to watch and listen to other people's projects as well as get feedback and notes from the panel!

I was in the engineering panel, of course, with 7 other people. The day was organised so that we would all have 20 minutes to present our project videos followed by questions asked by the panel and other finalists. I was super happy with the response from the panel and other finalists, everyone said it was a super cool and creative idea that looked very perfected and “finished" (compared to the other projects, mine looked like a well put together final prototype that could potentially be sold). They said that it was super practical and beneficial and something that they would have never thought of. I must admit, after looking at the other engineer's projects, I thought my project did look very simple. From a fully programmed automated weight plate loader to an artificially intelligent E-waste sorting robotic arm device, I was to say the least in shock from the talent of software creation from the other finalists! I was amazed by all of the projects presented, I could have never even thought to make some of the things and quite frankly I would not even know how! I feel super privileged to have been at a level with all these people who could code, program, and build such high-tech inventions. 

 

DAY 4 – last day:

On the last day, we were scheduled to make damper but our damper packages had not arrived yet so we had to just use what we had in our kitchens at home, they told us our packages would be coming soon but unfortunately mine still hasn't arrived… hopefully it comes soon!
We also had a 'VIP' talk from a person who managed future industries at CSIRO. 

 

By the end of the awards experience, I loved it so much I was crying because I was going to miss it! It was such a fantastic experience and I was not ready for it to be over. It was so much fun and I loved meeting so many smart and amazing people. These 4 days have been absolutely spectacular and I'm super grateful I am able to be involved with it! All the fun opportunities and events were so meaningful and extremely interesting. I also met so many new friends and, overall, I am so grateful I was able to be a part of such an awesome and incredible experience.  

Lucy Cohen
Year 9