Astronaut lands in Gungahlin College to fire up about STEM

22 Jul, 2016

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Gungahlin College students had the opportunity of a lifetime today to talk space shuttles, aeronautical engineering and space science with a former NASA astronaut visiting from the USA.

Professor Greg Chamitoff, a Professor of Practice in Aerospace Engineering and Director of the Aerospace Technology Research and Operations Center, visited Gungahlin College as part of an official two day tour of Canberra to talk about aerospace and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

“This was a fantastic opportunity for students at Gungahlin College to ask questions and talk to an expert with a distinguished career in the aerospace field, who logged more than 198 days in space as a NASA astronaut,” Mr Rattenbury said. “This is a great way to inspire passion for STEM amongst our students, and really engage them in the breadth of opportunities to be explored.

“I am proud that Canberra public schools are working in a variety of ways to increase students’ true engagement in or passion for STEM, which is just as important as teaching STEM skills, and opening up vital learning opportunities. “The establishment of a new specialist STEM centre at Caroline Chisholm School will serve as a focal point for the ACT Government’s commitment to innovation and learning, with $5.9 million in capital funding committed to design and construct the centre.

“We are also delivering a new STEM learning space at Garran Primary School and we have fantastic high achieving science programs at Melrose High School and Mount Stromlo High School. “Programs like Gungahlin College’s Mechatronics program combine skills from mechanical, electrical, computer and software engineering with creative thinking and problem solving skills, and are central to igniting a passion for STEM in our young people.

“Canberra public school students and teachers also have a unique opportunity to access our national institutions such as the CSIRO, Questacon and the ANU, and the Education Directorate has formed partnerships with these organisations and many other national industry and research groups, to support the delivery of STEM educational initiatives in Canberra public schools.

“I trust the students at Gungahlin College made the most of this unique opportunity with Professor Chamitoff, and have been inspired to reach for the stars,” Mr Rattenbury said.

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