Scientists in Schools

Breaking new ground

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  • Jo Ellard, Manea Senior College, Bunbury , WA
  • Paola Chivers, University of Notre Dame
By providing mentorship and guidance in her partnership with Jo, Paola has been influential in the development of the school's unique Health and Medical Specialist Program, as well as giving students insight into requirements for university study.

The opportunity to discuss current research with the actual researcher is usually rare for Year 11 and 12 human biology students, however it's a course highlight for the students from Manea Senior College. Paola's childhood obesity research provides a framework for class discussion around open ended investigations, information students then use in designing their own investigations.

Paola has been an inspiration

Jo looks forward to Paola's visits

Paola works with Senior Biology students

As a first in Western Australia, with Paola's assistance the College has developed an innovative Health and Medical Specialist Program. Jo and Paola based the course on national competencies and included opportunities such as work shadowing to enhance students' knowledge and experience.

The two year program incorporates prerequisite skills for medical and allied health tertiary students, as well as preparing the secondary students for university interviews and applications. The trial program is running in 2012 with the full program due to be implemented in 2013.

By sharing her story, Paola is a valuable source of motivation and provides an insight into life as a scientist. Jo explains, "Paola's university experiences as student and academic have been especially relevant for students who are going into science at university."

When asked about advice for new partnerships, Paola recommends, "When working alongside your teacher it is essential communication channels are open so opportunities can be recognised. It is important for the scientist to identify aspects of their work or research of interest and value to the students."