Perth geoscientist Suzy Urbaniak has been recognised as the Western Australia local hero in this year’s Australian of the Year awards Ms Urbaniak pioneered taking geoscience out of the classroom into a hands-on, in-the-field experience – particularly for remote area schools.
The ‘Local Hero’ award acknowledges extraordinary contributions made by Australians in their local community – with Ms Urbaniak currently making significant inroads into science education in WA’s Pilbara region.
Ms Urbaniak previously received the 2016 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools for her work in establishing and fostering a teaching program known as the Centre of Resources Excellence (CoRE).
CoRE encourages students to be equipped with the right skills and knowledge to take on a variety of career pathways in science and engineering so that the classroom is treated more as a workplace where students can focus on evolving as young scientists.
The program has also had the additional benefit of further empowering science educators on outcomes that can be achieved by adopting a different approach to a fundamental and necessary skillset for future generations, industry and technologies which will be increasingly reliant on modern-era science breakthroughs and developments.
Ms Urbaniak said that CoRE is all about turning a classroom into a room full of young scientists, rather than students learning from textbooks.
“School and university textbooks teach theory but hands-on experience enables a student to get a real sense of inquiry, investigation and solution outcomes by better connecting the classroom environment directly with what is happening in the real world,” Ms Urbaniak said.
“Critically, the future Australian science and engineering workforce is sitting in our classrooms today.
“CoRE is a philosophy, not just another STEM* program (* A term referring collectively to the teaching of the disciplines within its umbrella – science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
“Education is not about passing tests – life is not an exam.
“The current education system is no longer working satisfactorily. There is an urgent need to change our education system because the future is already here.
“At the end of the working life of the preschool class of 2020, these students will be seeing the beginning of the 22nd century.
“But right now, industry, parents, students and teachers are demanding change.
“0ur current 19th century model for education is not ready for that future as we have not yet prepared our educators, schools and communities to support these young people to thrive, not just survive that future.”
Ms Urbaniak said the CoRE learning philosophy mapped a practical pathway for real-world learning and practical solutions to this national challenge.
“Young people the world over are finding their voice, and are calling for our current teaching ranks to join them and be braver in navigating a rapidly changing world, rather than be paralysed by inaction,” she said.
“As educators, it is up to us to build future skills, attitudes and attributes in our students focused on practical real-world learning and to embrace creativity and challenges to fixed learning methodologies.”
The AGC’s Past-President, Dr Bill Shaw, said today Ms Urbaniak’s nomination had drawn attention to the need for those bedding down Australia’s future national education curricula to ensure the inclusion of good basic science in all future policy settings.
“Science and technology will empower societal growth in what will inevitably be an even more rapidly changing world in the future,” Dr Shaw said.
“Taking science learning into a more enriched, hands-on and self-responsible environment will attract more students to these exciting professions and help ensure Australia has the skillsets to play a major if not leading role in what will be increasingly seamless global industries, careers and professions.
The Australian Geoscience Council was amongst a number of prominent Australian scientists, learned and professional associations and institutes who congratulated Ms Urbaniak for her much deserved recognition through this latest award.
Ms Urbaniak is an AIG member and past chair of the Institute’s Western Australia branch.
Women and Leadership Australia have funding is available to support the development of female leaders across Australia’s science sector.
The initiative is providing women with grants of between $2,000 and $7,000 to enable participation in one of three programs that cover such things as reinforcing resilience and wellbeing, engaging with challenge and conflict, creating future focus, leading authentically and driving performance.
The scholarship funding is provided with the specific intent of providing powerful and effective development opportunities for science sector women, but has to be allocated by the end of 2019.
Expressions of Interest
Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form here prior to 6th December: www.wla.edu.au/funding.html
AIG members have benefited from access to a dedicated Edumine campus for the past ten years. This will change in December when Edumine rolls out a new website and service delivery model.
At the moment, access to the Edumine campus requires payment of a subscription fee that offers full access to Edumine’s catalogue of self-paced, on-line courses and discounted access to live, on-line courses. From December, AIG’s relationship with Edumine will transition to one where every AIG member will receive an automatic, significant discount on the fees for every Edumine course. AIG Campus subscribers will continue to receive the full benefit of their subscription until 31st May 2020, when the campus will be discontinued.
Both on-line content delivery and the courses themselves are being updated and revamped to improve the quality of Edumine’s services.
At the moment, access to the Edumine campus by AIG members requires payment of a subscription fee that offers full access to Edumine’s catalogue of self-paced, on-line courses and discounted access to live, on-line courses. From December, AIG’s relationship with Edumine will transition to one where every AIG member will receive an automatic, significant discount on the fees for every Edumine course. Student members have not had access to the Edumine campus previously. From December, Student members will be able to access the course discounts. AIG Campus subscribers will continue to receive the full benefit of their subscription until 31st May 2020, when the campus will be discontinued.
Edumine is a great resource for AIG members seeking to expand their knowledge and exposure to geoscientific techniques and methods relevant to exploration and mining. The self-paced on-line courses are considered to be of particular benefit to AIG’s international members, and members working commute rosters by providing training that can be completed at any time, anywhere with Internet access. Every Edumine course completed by members will receive both Edumine continuing education units (CEU) and AIG continuous professional development (CPD) hours. Selected Edumine courses may also entitle members to credit towards formal qualifications in mining offered by several universities.
The AIG website team are currently working with Edumine to provide enhanced information regarding Edumine courses for AIG members.
Watch the AIOG website for further information.
The European Federation of Geologists announces 2018 employment survey results
EFG announced the results of the first employment survey of European geoscientists conducted last year. The objectives of the survey were to:
- Analyse the labour market for geo- logists in Europe: In which industries do professional geologists work? Are their activities related to their training? Do they exploit job opportunities in other European countries? Which are the prospects for the future?
- Provide geologists with a better over- view of labour opportunities in Eu- rope, helping them to construct their studies and careers,
- Allow professional associations to of- fer better services to members, hel-ping them to find jobs,
- Provide evidence for professional as- sociations to pursue the policy dia- logue with universities and education authorities improving the training of geologists.
The survey results are presented as a two page report, available here.
Scholarships available for Indigenous, LGBTQ+ and regional STEM professionals
- Indigenous STEM Scholarships for people with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage
- STEM Pride scholarships for people who identify as LGBTQI+
- Regional STEM scholarships for STEM practitioners who work in remote or regional Australia (>150km from a major capital city)
Scholarships will cover full registration including the gala dinner in the Great Hall at Parliament House, as well as travel, accommodation, meals and transfers. Financial assistance for childcare is available upon application.
Science meets Parliament brings around 200 Australian scientists and technologists to Canberra for professional development, networking, and to meet face-to-face with MPs and Senators. It is a highlight of the annual parliamentary calendar and has enhanced mutual understanding between parliamentarians and scientists as well as fostering enduring partnerships and collaborations.
Please note that to be eligible for these scholarships you must be a member of or employed by an STA member organisation. AIG members are eligible to apply through AIG’s membership of the Australian Geoscience Council.
The Indigenous STEM Scholarships are proudly supported by the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems(EQUS).
Applications will close on 15 June 2019, with recipients to be contacted by 30 June 2019 and an announcement made shortly after.
The scholarship application form is available here.