Scientists in Schools

Career Identified

  • Jen Trewren, Taminmin College, Humpty Doo, Northern Territory
  • Stefan Maier, Charles Darwin University

A partnership between a Remote Sensing Researcher and a rural Darwin secondary college has helped one Year 12 student to determine his career path.

In late 2009, Stefan Maier visited Taminmin College in rural Darwin to discuss his work on remote sensing of bushfires and to give a presentation to the Year 11 class. The presentation enthralled one particular student, Grant, who stayed behind during recess to ask questions and then continued to contact Stefan in the following months with further questions about his remote sensing work.

In early 2010, Stefan assisted Jen Trewren and other Year 10 science teachers with their planning for a GIS (Geographic Information System) unit and he also offered Grant three days of work experience during the school holidays. Stefan was very impressed with Grant's quick mastery of the expensive GIS software and Grant enjoyed the experience immensely. Grant commented "I found the time with Stefan eye-opening. The technology he uses is quite amazing and the potential for it is mind boggling. I felt honoured to be able to use the technology I was provided with and after seeing how much of the Northern Territory gets burnt (about 80-90% annually), I am now considering pursuing a career in remote sensing and GIS."

Stephan Maier working with student Grant Thiel on the GIS remote sensing software

The most rewarding aspect of the partnership for Stefan has been "having the opportunity to help Grant to hopefully find his career path". Jen says "Stefan has given Grant focus and drive to carry him through Year 12 and has changed his life".

Jen and Stefan have future school visits planned which will probably include field data collection at the nature reserve behind the school.