UNE has a positive reaction

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SCIENCE: Senior lecturer Erica Smith and program coordinator Guido Pautshasen help an Indigenous student complete his chemistry experiment.INDIGENOUS students met at the University of New England for a day of chemistry and experiments.
Nanjing Night Net

The experience day is part of an initiative by the Oorala Centre to encourage Indigenous students to consider university.

Program coordinator Guido Posthausen said the program is designed to break the first-in-family cycle.

“The main idea was to get the students engaged in a more academic context, we’ve had kids come out to the university before and the idea is to give them a real experience,” he said.

18 students from Armidale and Uralla took part in the day and visited the SMART farm to learn about sustainability in agriculture.

Senior lecturer in chemistry Erica Smith led the experiment in the afternoon and said it was important to encourage students from low socioeconomic families to be exposed to a university experience.

“I think it’s very important that universities play a role in encouraging young people to think about university, it may not be for them and that’s okay, but particularly for students we call first-in-family,” she said.

“For a lot of them no-one talks about it, it’s not even on their radar.”

The students made aspirin as part of the experience day.

Chemists have made it a more effective medicine by changing the molecular structure.

Ms Smith said it was important to teach the students about the many different career paths that a degree in science offers.

“Most people who study science don’t end up in a lab in a lab coat, there’s loads of other things you can do with it and the skills you can get from it you can apply to anything,” she said.

“I think it’s vital, the reality is a lot of Indigenous communities are disadvantaged when it comes to education so if we can get over that first-in-family thing and expose people to the fact that this is here for everybody, if you want to do it go for it and there’s nothing stopping you, that’s really important.”

The experience days are run by the Oorala Aboriginal Centre and will run across a range of disciplines.

Students will experience thehumanities, law, arts, and science.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.