Enabling a Better Future

The Future STEM Gen project

The Future STEM Gen project will empower youth from low socioeconomic status regions to gain leadership and STEM skills and address local and global challenges.

Students will be provided with STEM maker kits for projects that genuinely contribute to their community, themed around smart gardens, sustainable energy sources and water purification. Instructions, and advice on implementation for specific projects within these areas will be provided, but flexibility will be maintained so that communities may tailor the projects to what is most relevant to them.

They will be supported in the development of these projects through mentoring by STEM educators including First Nations scientists.

The students will film the various stages of their projects and develop these as teaching resources for longevity of the Future STEM Gen projects. They will also use these recordings to showcase their achievements online (e.g. YouTube, Instagram).

Our Goals

Students from low socioeconomic status rural, regional, and remote schools will develop leadership and STEM skills by becoming Future STEM Gen leaders of projects that address sustainable practices and self-sufficiency. Mentored by STEM Educators and First Nations scientists face-to-face and via video conferencing, these youth and those they engage with at STEM events, will develop a deeper understanding of environmental systems and connection to Country.

Leading STEM activities at established school, community and university events, these students will become inspirational role models for further youth under-represented in STEM and will promote STEM as an enabler of a better future.

Our Projects

Smart Gardens – Growing on Country:

Students will build an electronic monitoring and control system to germinate plants, monitor their conditions and modify the variables to maximise growth. The plant choice will be guided by the community, based around the theme of Bush Foods and Medicines. 3D printing will also be used to print seasonal plant parts and water purification systems, for example.

Local Energy for the Global Future:

Diminishing petroleum reserves and climate change caused by combustion-related CO2 emissions illustrate the necessity of alternative and sustainable energy sources. Students will be given the opportunity to investigate and understand sustainable energy sources through making Dye Sensitised Solar Cells (DSSC) and growing algae, that can be transformed into biodiesel. Other innovative uses of algae will also be explored.

Water for Life:

Students will test their local dam, bore, creek or tap water using kits that allow them to check multiple important parameters including pH, nitrates, phosphates, chloride. They will then build simple filtration systems using materials of their choice, including plant fibres. After filtration, the water will be tested again to evaluate the effectiveness of the filtration, promoting inquiry learning and understanding of wastewater.

Future STEM Gen has received grant funding from the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources through the Maker Projects: Community STEM Engagement Grants, part of the Inspiring Australia – Science Engagement Program.

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Acknowledgment of Country
Macquarie University acknowledges the traditional custodians of the Macquarie University land, the Wallumattagal clan of the Dharug nation - whose cultures and customs have nurtured, and continue to nurture, the land since Dreamtime.