Growing Australian STEM talent at global science competition

3 MAY 2024

Growing Australian STEM talent at global science competition

Scholarships from Charles Sturt University will help four outstanding STEM high school students to attend the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles, California, in May.

  • Charles Sturt University sponsors four top high school STEM students to attend a major international science and engineering event in Los Angeles in May
  • The Charles Sturt Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Futures Institute and the Gulbali AgriPark each have provided two $10K scholarships
  • The University is creating awareness of national STEM competitions in its campus cities to encourage more regional and rural entries in the future

Scholarships from Charles Sturt University will help four outstanding STEM high school students to attend the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles, California, in May.

Four of the twelve Australian finalists to attend the ISEF are sponsored by the Charles Sturt Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Futures Institute (AICFI) and AgriPark, which is part of the Charles Sturt Gulbali Research Institute for Agriculture, Water and Environment.

Executive Director of the AICFI Professor Ganna Pogrebna said the Australian Year 9-12 school students in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) first competed with their outstanding projects at the prestigious national Australian Science and Engineering Fair (AUSSEF).

“The University’s sponsorship, two scholarships each from the AICFI and the Gulbali AgriPark, supports the students in costs of flights, accommodation etc, and allows them to participate in the global ISEF competition,” Professor Pogrebna said.

“In 2023, nine projects and 12 high school student finalists, all with brilliant technology research projects from Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales, were selected from hundreds of applications to represent Australia at the global competition.

“Last year, the AICFI sponsored two students for ISEF 2023, with remarkable outcomes; one of them received a global first prize in robotics and another a runner-up prize in astrophysics, which allowed the team to showcase the Institute and University at the global event.”

The 2024 AICFI sponsored students are:

  • Aditya Ghai (Anglican Church Grammar School, Brisbane, QLD) used machine code to computerise the Alzheimer’s disease clock face test for dementia.
  • Rahul Kumar (Brisbane Grammar School, QLD) has a continuation project from 2023 ISEF that has improved on his emergency safety app that makes it more universal and has greater security.

The 2024 AgriPark sponsored students:

  • Kevin Hao (Knox Grammar School, Sydney, NSW) worked on a novel forward modelling of climate change induced sedimentation and its implications for coastal ecosystems.
  • Jessica Jones (Menai High School, Sydney, NSW) who performed an investigation into how different sizes of Australia’s most common waterway microplastic, polyethylene, affects the physiological functions of Daphnia magna (a small planktonic crustacean).

Executive Director of AgriPark Mr Nick Pagett congratulated Kevin and Jessica on their outstanding achievements.

“Witnessing emerging leaders like them in agriculture and sustainability is truly inspiring,” Mr Pagett said.

“We wish them continued success on their path forward, and eagerly anticipate the positive impact they’ll make in the future.”

Professor Pogrebna said by supporting talented STEM students the University is creating awareness of the AUSSEF competition for local Charles Sturt campus cities to encourage more regional and rural entries in coming years.

“We are proud to be building relationships with high school science teachers and students and are positioning the University at the leading ‘pre-college’ science competition in the world, with a wide range of leading organisations and partners in attendance,” Professor Pogrebna said.

“We aim to elevate the University’s and the Institute’s STEM profile in Australia, so Charles Sturt University is recognised as a preferred place for their students, and we attract top-tier students and nurture future industry leaders.

“We support gender diversity and inclusion of First Nations or regional Australian students; about 50 per cent of AUSSEF finalists are female and two regional students annually compete in the US.”

The 2024 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles is from Saturday 11 to Friday 17 May 2024.


Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Professor Ganna Pogrebna and Mr Nick Pagett, contact Bruce Andrews at Charles Sturt Media on mobile tel:0418669362  via news@csu.edu.au

The Gulbali Institute for Agriculture, Water and Environment is a strategic investment by Charles Sturt University to drive integrated research to optimise farming systems, enhance freshwater ecosystems and improve environmental management, to deliver benefits across Australia and globally.

At top: some of the 12 AUSSEF student finalists with Charles Sturt University personnel and Mr Stuart Garth, Coordinator of AUSSEF (at right)

In text: Charles Sturt AICFI Executive Director Professor Ganna Pogrebna and Coordinator of AUSSEF Mr Stuart Garth with (from top) student scholarship awardees Aditya Ghai, Rahul Kumar, Kevin Hao, and Jessica Jones




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