Discover Science@UWS: Motivating science students to select science as a field to study and as a career

Year: 2009

Author: Gregson, Robyn

Type of paper: Refereed paper

In an increasingly competitive global economy in which Australia markets its knowledge, science and innovation the current and growing shortfall of science industry workers is an ongoing crisis. The focus of this paper is the evaluation of an initiative that addressed the issue of student negative attitudes to science and the movement away from science as a career or focus of tertiary study. The problem begins with the choices that secondary students make when considering subjects for their senior years of schooling. Students are not linking classroom science to study and careers in a broad range of scientific fields. In the Discover Science @UWS program Year 10 and 11students worked with Australian university scientists in the Confocal Bio-imaging facility performing authentic experiments using cutting edge technology. The evidence of the impact on student learning lies in the extensive two way transfer of information between the scientists, students and their teachers and way the students demonstrated a deeper understanding of complex scientific concepts and their increased confidence in being able to present their findings to a scientific audience. The students’ perspectives of studying science at university and career choices were modified, but in some cases, not enough to move away from familial expectations for future study and careers.