A Quest for Talent
Raytheon, Questacon partner to inspire Australia's future engineers and scientists
The Australian government has recognised Raytheon’s support for hands-on, interactive education through its key partnership with Questacon - The National Science and Technology Centre.
Acknowledging Raytheon and the partnership’s contribution towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics education (STEM), Parliamentary, Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Science Karen Andrews MP said, “This unique initiative is an example of how government and industry can collaborate to bring tangible examples from business and research, and inspire young people to become the innovators of tomorrow."
As part of the partnership, Questacon’s latest Virtual Excursion project connected 46 students from schools in the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Western Australia through videoconferencing. The task: Create body parts for a figurine using 3D design and printing technology.
Students were supplied with a torso featuring snap-in sockets and a blueprint ball-joint design, along with instructions to let their imaginations run wild. They could create arms, legs, even wings, or functioning limb prototypes for amputees. Students were challenged to develop lateral thinking to find solutions to the technical challenge.
Students fine-tuned their designs by swapping ideas, engaging in virtual workshops and picking the brains of Raytheon mechanical engineer Dallas Roderick.
Questacon’s Schmidt Studio, supported by Raytheon, facilitated the virtual learning initiative. Since its inception in 2010, the initiative has aided in the education of more than 13,000 students nationally, offering unprecedented face-to-face interaction with local and international scientists, including NASA astronauts, Nobel Laureates, polar explorers and a CERN physicist.
“Additive manufacturing, including 3D design and printing, is revolutionising manufacturing across many industries worldwide," said Questacon Director of Science and Learning Dr Stuart Kohlhagen. "This project has given students an insight and hopefully, motivated them to find out more about the increasing application of this technology and potential careers on offer.”
Support for the education of Australia’s future engineers and scientists is of high importance, according to Raytheon Australia Managing Director, Michael Ward. “It is vital we encourage and provide every learning opportunity and resource to aid their development," he said. "On behalf of Raytheon, I congratulate these students on the innovation their designs reflect and wish them all the best for their future studies.”
While this Virtual Excursion project may have concluded, the initiative is facing the future with a pipeline packed with projects for coming months. Each is designed to educate students on the value of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as encourage career development within associated fields.
Parliamentary Secretary Andrews said Questacon’s initiatives are a key element for delivering the Government’s broader science agenda, including the development of Australia’s first-ever national policy to secure its skills base.
“These informal learning opportunities are a vital part of the broader STEM policy we are developing to help secure a highly skilled workforce and cultivate the science-literate society that is essential for Australia’s ongoing productivity and prosperity,” she said.