In October this year SCMB hosted four work experience students from the Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology (QASMT) through our Scientists in Schools partnership.

QASMT is a selective entry public school for high achieving students in Years 10, 11 and 12.

QASMT students complete the International Baccalaureate, a program that encourages active learning with an international perspective. Most of QASMT’s students want to come to UQ to continue their education.

Our four work experience students spent some time with Weiliang Huang in Liz Gillam’s lab, worked in the undergraduate Chemistry labs with Denise Adams and Jo Blanchfield and also did practicals in genetics and developmental biology.

One of the students, Emily Ross, wrote a report about her experiences. Here’s part of it:

“I found work experience to be a valuable 2 days. For the beginning of the first day, we observed a PhD student (in his natural habitat, the laboratory) working on DNA transformations.

We had the chance to participate in a second year developmental biology tutorial/ prac; in this prac, we opened chicken eggs with three-day-old embryos. At three days, one can see the heart beat with the naked eye. For this prac, we inserted small terratinagin [sic] beans onto the membrane holding the chicken embryo. After resealing the embryos, they were placed into an incubator to grow (and mutate).

On the second day we did four pracs, the first three were chemistry pracs, looking for precipitates, making bouncy balls and extracting caffeine from coffee, unfortunately the caffeine can’t be consumed because we used sodium hydroxide and chloroform in the extraction process. Our last prac was also a second year biology prac, a DNA transformation.

It was a great two days with lots of learning experiences. I would like to thank Ms Hall and Ms Monteath for getting the placement for us, Dr. Susan Rowland for getting us into the pracs. Also I would like to thank the tutors for putting up with a pair of grade tens in their pracs and all the students for answering our questions no matter how bizarre they may have been.“

As their teacher, Sue Monteath said “they were lucky to be placed with you at UQ.”

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