A Wagga teacher was on hand to watch a young Australia student named one of the big winners at an international science competition in the United States.
Jenny Stephens was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the International Science and Engineering Fair 2018 after being named “rural teacher chaperone” at the Young Scientist Awards in November 2017.
Organised by the Science Teachers Association of NSW, the award saw Mrs Stephens given the chance to help supervise the young Australian students who were attending the fair.
The young Australians won four special awards and five grand awards.
Sydney student Oliver Ncholls received the highest award given on the night, the $75,000 Gordan E Moore Award.
Oliver invented an autonomous window cleaning robot for commercial high rise buildings he built using parts he found on eBay and in local stores.
“It was a design and technology project that could have easily be made at home with simple hand tools,” Mrs Stepehens said.
“I can't wait to bring this experience back to our area as it reinforced that there is no reason why we can't compete at an international level.”
A mother of nine, Mrs Stephens is now a teacher at Kildare Catholic College, but was teaching at the Wagga MET campus when she was nominated for her own award.
“This trip was life-changing for all of us who went were there,” she said.
“There is a wealth of knowledge and excitement that is rippling through from these experiences.”
Mrs Stephens believes it is only a matter of time before a student from rural Australia makes their mark at the international event.
“I also love the way the newly introduced science syllabus by NESA (New South Wales Education Standards Authority) is written to develop students to be genuine scientists with the focus on equipping them for changing the world through science, technology, knowledge and imagination,” she said.
“It's aim is to bring students back to what science is – curiosity and the search for greater understanding.”