One Creswick Primary School student has proven that girls can lead the way in scientific research.
Last week, Grade 6 student Bella Davies was surprised when she was named as the winner of the statewide BioCATS program at her school assembly. Her prize was a signed Geelong Football Club jersey – Bella’s beloved football team.
The BioCATS program is run by BioLab, the Victorian Bioscience Education Centre, and the Geelong Football Club, with an aim of engaging and inspiring the next generation in science and mathematics using innovative technologies and techniques.
A report released by Australia’s chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel in 2017 stated that of the 2.3 million people qualified in Australia’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) workforce, only 16 per cent of these people were female.
This raised questions about why so few women were entering one of Australia’s fastest growing industries, especially as by 2030, it is expected that workers will spend 77 per cent more time utilising science and mathematics skills.
BioLab’s programs are themed around sport and human performance and among the programs, youngsters get to spend a day at the Geelong Football Club.
Education Officer Shannon Gleeson said all students involved in the program enter a competition to win the signed jumper from all the players at the club.
“They have to produce a creative writing piece essentially about their time at the program,” she said. “We’ve had over 40 schools come into the program this year and hundreds of students and Bella’s won the award for the most creative entry of the year.
“For us, it was the effort that went into it and the way she presented it, generally you’ll get a poster, but Bella put a lot of effort into what was sort of a digital presentation for us with photos and graphs, everything in there. That’s what we look for.”
Bella’s project was based on the activities she completed as part of the program throughout the year.
“I collected a lot of data for it,” she said. “I did lots of graphs and things all based around maths and science. On the day we did lots of activities based around computers, and iPads and different objects.
“We had to record each activity, such as how high can you jump, or arm length, and then I based it all of that, so each person had different ones and we compared it.”
Bella said the highlight was visiting the club she barracks for.
“I really enjoyed it,” she said. “We all got to have a look around. It’s pretty spectacular down there now. I get to go to a few games and I always enjoy them. It’s always great fun and as long as I can remember we’ve been a pretty good side. So I reckon we can get the premiership next year.”