The Game Changer Awards is a program bringing together students who are interested in STEM and innovation across WA.
The one-day event was an opportunity to encourage future researchers and supercomputing & data experts to pursue careers in STEM. It was also a chance to reinforce the support and resources Pawsey Supercomputing offers to WA STEM specialists. The awards are based around the teams’ Projects which are focused on demonstrating students’ science, technology, engineering and math skills. During the Awards event, these ideas are showcased to families, industry and government representatives and STEM enthusiasts. This year’s themes included conservation projects aimed at natural resources preservation, proposals to increase survival opportunities for human and other lifeforms on extreme conditions, projects that looked at addressing accessibility to improve everyday life for people living with disabilities, and projects addressing pollution.
The Game Changer Awards attracted 14 schools with more than 180 students participating.
Professor Lyn Beazley, the patron of the event, opened the day, after spending some time liaising with the students and hearing about their projects. She was as impressed as she was inspired, and has already contemplated possible opportunities to materialise some of the ideas and turn them into solutions that can actually impact people lives.
Alexis Espinoza, a Pawsey Supercomputing Specialist, was one of the judges at the Awards, and in conjunction with the others, selected the most outstanding entries based on the students understanding of the problems they were trying to solve, the benefits of the solution, understanding of the principles of maths used in their projects along with the scientific principles involved.
When asked about this experience at the Awards, Alexis said he was so pleased to have the opportunity to be part of this exciting event, “seeing so many kids keen to develop ideas that are connected with science and technology gives me hope for the future of science.” Alexis said “as a parent of two young girls and a scientist myself, I was delighted to see so much innovation, and enthusiasm in the field of STEM. It is such a powerful and rewarding sector and to see this kind of passion in children makes the future look very bright.”
The award categories were organised by years, with teams from years 3/4 through to years 9/10. This year was dominated by primary students, with representative teams from Nedlands Primary School, Beaconsfield Primary School, St Paul’s Primary School, Ashdale Primary School, Piara Waters Primary School, Rockingham Beach Primary School, Oberthur Primary School, and secondary schools including Perth Modern, Loreto Nedlands, Swan View Senior High School, Perth College, and Hampton Senior High School among others.
Mark Stickells, Pawsey Executive Director, before presenting some of the awards, took the opportunity to express the impact supercomputers have in science and engineering and the importance for the Nation to continue inspiring students to pursue STEM through initiatives such as the Game Changer Awards.
At the end of a full day of activities, all the attendees, participants, volunteers, judges, organisers, partners and educators, left ECU with a feeling of accomplishment and appreciative of having the opportunity to be part or witness the ability of our future scientists in the making.
To find out more about the event, how to participate and this year winners, please visit: https://www.gamechangerawards.com.au/