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Celebrating 10 years of Science and Engineering Challenges in Northern Rivers


Sharlene King
20 June 2016

As the Northern Rivers Science and Engineering Challenge clocks up its 10th anniversary, a record number of school students will be heading to Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus this week to celebrate and compete in the annual event.

When the Northern Rivers Science and Engineering Challenge (NRSEC) started in 2007, it was a one-day event with eight schools. New benchmarks are being set at the 2016 Challenge, with more than 1100 students from 40 schools across an expanded five-day program from June 22 to 28.

This means more than 4500 young Einsteins have participated in the NRSEC since the beginning. Along with the Science and Engineering Challenge for Years 9 and 10 students, the event now includes Discovery Day for students in Years 5 and 6.

The NRSEC is a decade-long partnership between Southern Cross University and the Rotary Club of Alstonville.

Professor Jerry Vanclay, head of the School of Environment, Science and Engineering, said he was pleased the Challenge was now a regular part of the region’s school year and highly valued by science and technology teachers.

“Hosting the Challenge at the Lismore campus gives young people the opportunity to mix with University students and staff and get a taste of university life. We hope to inspire and show them that creativity and innovation is an integral part of any career in science and engineering.”

Peter Swain was the Rotary Club of Alstonville’s youth director in 2007 when the Northern Rivers region hosted its first Challenge.

“The Challenge appeals to me because it excites kids so they can see the relevance of science in day-to-day life and potential careers,” said Mr Swain, a retired agricultural consultant with a postgraduate degree in environmental science.

“Alstonville Rotary is a proud partner with SCU in organising this, the 10th NRSEC.”

Lismore High School has set a NRSEC record by sending a team each year to the event.

“The Challenge promotes teamwork in problem-solving which is a desirable skill to take into the workplace,” said Lismore High science teacher, Helen George. “It also encourages lateral thinking which is where unique solutions are often found.”

Thanks to our supporters:

Platinum Sponsors: Sunshine Sugar
Gold Sponsors: Engineers Australia, Newton Denny Chapelle, Southern Cross Vice Chancellor's Office, Environmental Analysis Laboratory, SCU Engineering
Silver Sponsors: Summerland Credit Union, Northern Co-operative Meat Company, GEO-AM Consulting, Hammond & Associates, Geolink
Bronze Sponsors: Richmond Waste, Ballina Shire Council, Spinaze Consulting, Lismore City Council, McKees Engineering, Peter Lucena & Associates, North Coast Tafe, Tweed Shire Council

Media opportunity: Cutting of the 10th anniversary cake to celebrate 10 years of the Science and Engineering Challenge in the Northern Rivers. Join SCU, Rotary Club of Alstonville and high school students on Day 1 of the Challenge. 11.30am Wednesday June 22 at Amphitheatre outside Y Block Photo: Professor Jerry Vanclay, head of the School of Environment, Science and Engineering, with students from Wollumbin High School at the 2015 Northern Rivers Science and Engineering Challenge.