That’s a wrap: e-Meet a Biomedical Scientist 2022

Our recent e-Meet a Biomedical Scientist program connected us with Secondary Schools nationwide matching classrooms with our world-leading researchers.

What better way to celebrate National Science Week than by connecting budding high school students with our own University of Melbourne Biomedical Scientists, who work at the centre of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest biomedical precinct? Well … that’s exactly what we did!

In 2022, we reinvigorated e-Meet a Biomedical Scientist for a fourth year, and successfully matched  27 secondary schools from across Australia with our leading SBS biomedical scientists – in addition the program was communicated to Schools across Australia via National Science Week, UOM STEM news and via our ongoing association with GTAC.

Over 35 sessions took place during National Science Week (15 to 19 August 2022), where students in Years 9 to 12 had the opportunity to ask our experts about all things biomedical sciences. From career journeys, to tertiary studies, to scientific details about how the heart forms, the program facilitated an environment where students felt comfortable to ask questions, and researchers were able to share what they are passionate about.

Overwhelmingly positive feedback was received from both participating schools and researchers. Research Assistant Ashleigh Hayes has been asked by Susan Whelan of Genazzano FJC College to return to speak at the Biology Teacher’s Network VIC to share her insights.

Susan shared “Ashleigh’s work was amazingly well aligned with the Unit 3 and 4 Biology course. As teachers we find it so valuable to be able to use real life examples when we discuss concepts with students, and it allows us to perhaps question and clarify the research realities involved.”

Ashleigh, whose research focuses on understanding how major human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) adapts to its environments and treatments, was incredibly excited about the opportunity to inspire the next generation.

“I chose to take part in the program as I would have loved to have this opportunity when I was at school and wanted to provide this opportunity to current high school students. I thought it would be a great way to showcase biomedical science to budding young scientists looking at a possible career in biomedical science,” Ashleigh said. “I loved how excited the teachers and students were to be provided with the opportunity to speak to a Biomedical Scientist.”

Ashleigh Hayes presenting to students at Genazzano FJC College

And there were more who felt the same…

Student engagement is part of what we should be doing to get the brightest minds into science – scientists need role models and champions

-  Professor Matthew Watt, Head of Department Anatomy & Physiology, paired with Balwyn High School.

  • “I always hoped that I had gotten more information about what I will be doing in the future in my own high school years. It was great seeing the enthusiasm in the students, and knowing that what I did might help them with making decisions about their future is exciting!” – Rachel Ye, Masters Student – Dept Anatomy & Physiology, paired with Aquinas College.
  • “It was a great lesson in science communication for me since I had to communicate my research to the year 9-10 and VCE students” – Dr Shabih Shakeel, Laboratory Head and Principal Research Fellow – Dept Biochemistry & Pharmacology, paired with St Joseph’s College Ferntree Gully.
  • “The students had excellent questions about my career path, my research and immunology in general” – Dr Carolien van der Sandt, Research Fellow – Dept Microbiology & Immunology, paired with Sacred Heart Girls’ College.

Melanie Eckersley-Maslin talking with students at Shelford Girls Grammar

And from the schools there was equal enthusiasm for the project…

Our senior students in particular struggle to picture what a science career might look like. This opportunity gave them valuable insight into a science pathway after high school.
  • "Wuji also turned out to be a great resource for the biology students when it came to questions about immune system content. There were a couple of lightbulb moments!” – Katrina Brown, Kooweerup Secondary College, paired with Wuji Zhang, PhD Student – Dept Microbiology & Immunology.
  • “It was a really useful and worthwhile experience for the students and Catherine was able to provide a lot of insight. The best part was hearing about the various ways into Biomedicine and the variety of pathways it offers” – David Newlyn, Westbourne Grammar School, paired with Dr Catherine Palmer, Research Fellow – Dept Biochemistry & Pharmacology.
  • “It was great to get an insight into work within the lab. We felt that the session was very well placed in terms of students considering pathways for the years ahead and of course, a wonderful way to acknowledge the significance of Science with National Science Week underway” – Lynda Schultz, Aquinas College, paired with Rachel Ye, Masters Student – Dept Anatomy & Physiology.
  • “It was a great opportunity! Carolien was so willing to share her experiences and her research. The students loved that they could ask a science question, and it could be answered” – Athena Bombas, Sacred Heart Girls’ College, paired with Dr Carolien van der Sandt, Research Fellow – Dept Microbiology & Immunology.

We would like to thank all of our researchers and the teachers and students of the schools who participated in this year’s successful program –  without your enthusiasm programs such as these are not possible. We look forward to continuing to provide opportunities for both our researchers and the wider community, to share the great work that happens in the School of Biomedical Sciences.

To stay up to date with the School of Biomedical Sciences news and events, please visit our website.