St Mary’s student beams about all things science

WHAT do ice-cream, glandular fever, sunburn and Walt Disney all have in common?

Leticia Fuller of Maryborough and her nine state counterparts who attended a three-day science experience at University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Toowoomba.

Still beaming with excitement, Ms Fuller shared details of her experience with her sponsor, the Rotary Club of Maryborough Sunrise, at a recent breakfast meeting.

Rotary Sunrise President Glenda Pitman said the club sponsored Ms Fuller by covering the program cost.rotary

“Leticia is a very conscientious and hard-working student,” Mrs Pitman said.

“It’s wonderful to hear such an eloquent and enthusiastic student talk about her experiences. She is obviously passionate about science and a great ambassador for Rotary.”

Leticia told Rotarians her experience in Toowoomba was “absolutely amazing!”

“We studied all different science things from engineering and hematology to agronomy and astronomy,” the Year 9 St Mary’s College student said.

“During the event we made soft-serve ice-cream using liquid nitrogen, cream, milk and vanilla essence.

“We also went into different science and medical laboratories to see what university labs look like.

“In the medical lab we looked at hematology and did a full DNA test. Within the samples I had, I diagnosed someone with malaria, glandular fever and diabetes.

“With agronomy, the study of plants, we looked at wheat, barley and sugarcane and the different sorts of root crops as well as photosynthesis and how changing the C02 levels, temperature and colour of light can affect how fast and slow they grow.

“We also looked at UV radiation. Even when it’s cloudy UV radiation is still there so you can still get sun burnt, just not as bad. We had clear UV beads and when we were inside a building they were completely clear and see-through but when we went into the sun, depending on the strength they changed colour to vibrant pink, purple or yellow.

“Even sitting in a car, if you have windows that aren’t tinted the UV is coming through so you can still get sun burnt. We learnt how it causes skin cancer and kills cells within us.”

Ms Fuller said engineering activities included designing the keyboard of a laptop computer using a circuit board, paper and a pencil so that when keys drawn on the paper were pressed they connected to the computer.

“It’s amazing to see what you can do with a computer. You wouldn’t think a computer could take your life so far but it does.

“One of our instructors used to work for Walt Disney Productions. She was one of those who did all the animations in movies and showed us in depth how they’re all created.

“We also looked at computer programming games and created our own programs while were there.”

Ms Fuller hopes her interest in all things science will lead to a career in pediatric nursing.

The ConocoPhillips Science Experience is designed to provide Year 9 and 10 students who have an interest in science with an opportunity to engage in a wide range of fascinating science activities under the guidance of scientists who love their work.

The event takes place in over 35 universities and tertiary institutions across Australia.

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Photo:  Maryborough’s St Mary’s College Year 9 student Leticia Fuller joins other science enthusiasts at this year’s ConocoPhillips Science Experience.

Media Contact: Jocelyn Watts, Email: jocey@jocelynwatts.com; Phone: 0403 191 958

Australians urged to help Borneo’s orangutans

THE PLIGHT of Indonesian orangutans and what Australians can do to help their closest primate relatives will be in the spotlight at the next USQ Green + Thumbs session at University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Fraser Coast.

Coinciding with Threatened Species Day 2015, USQ business student Sophia Fuller of Hervey Bay will talk about her experiences in the Indonesian forests and the work being done there to ensure the orangutans’ survival.

orangutans

Sophia Fuller will talk about saving Borneo’s orangutans at USQ Fraser Coast.

Threatened Species Day is a national day held on September 7 each year to commemorate the death of the last remaining Tasmanian tiger (also known as the thylacine) at Hobart Zoo in 1936.

The event is a time to reflect on what happened in the past and how people can protect threatened species in the future.

Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Australia statistics show orangutans are an endangered species with an estimated 50,000 left in the wild.

“This large, gentle red ape is one of our closest relatives, sharing 98% of our DNA. The greatest threat to their survival is the destruction of the rainforest.

“Some experts say about 6000 orangutans are disappearing every year and without our collective help orangutans could be extinct in the wild within our lifetime.”

Ms Fuller’s interest in Borneo orangutans began in 2009 when she was still at high school in Brisbane.

“Working through the DeforestACTION centre we focused on the palm oil aspect, spreading the word,” she said.

“Natural forests were being cleared for logging and palm oil plantations. Orangutans can’t live in those plantations – there’s no fruit suitable for them to eat. When the forests are burnt the orangutans either die, get poached, or taken as pets and traded.”

BOS statistics show palm oil accounts for 35% of world edible vegetable oil production.

“About 80% is used as a vegetable oil or put in other ingredients. It can be found in many processed foods from ice cream and chocolate to cereals and fruit juice.

“Palm oil is also found in cosmetics and household products including toothpaste, shampoos, makeup and detergents.”

In 2014 and 2015, Ms Fuller and her fellow students visited the Orangutan Centre in Borneo.

“We saw the clinic where baby orangutans are rescued, rehabilitated and trained to live in the wild,” she said.

“The babies come out once a day to play in the trees. When they reach the next step in their growth, they’re moved to another place and eventually taken about 60km out of the city and released into a protected forest.

“Another protected forest I went to is specifically for research. They’ve got the most current data you can find in Indonesia and they’re doing some amazing things with conservation and reforestation.”

The USQ Green + Thumbs session will also include a talk on Australian Threatened Species.

For more information on orangutans including how to help the species survive, visit www.orangutans.com.au or https://planetfunder.org/projects/StudentsforOrangutanTropicalPeatland

What:              Threatened Species session hosted by USQ Green + Thumbs
When:             5.30pm to 9pm, Monday September 7
Where:            USQ Fraser Coast, Room A139.
Cost:               Free

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Expanding horizons on Fraser Island

FRASER ISLAND provided an ideal backdrop for talks on expanding horizons when more than 80 delegates from 36 institutions including 28 Australian and New Zealand universities met for a three-day forum.

The world-heritage-listed island is the largest sand island in the world and the only place on the planet where rain forest grows on sand!

Hosted by the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), the 10th annual Australasian Association for Institutional Research Special Interest Group (AAIR-SIG) Forum 2015 was themed ‘Expand your horizons’.

Held at Kingfisher Bay Resort from August 19 to 21, 2015, the forum brought together practitioners involved with business intelligence and data warehousing, load and revenue planning, government reporting, surveys and evaluation, quality and risk management.

fraser island

USQ Sustainable Business Management and Improvement (SBMI) Executive Director Steve Ivey (left), Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O’Connell, USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer and SBMI Strategic Information Systems Manager Togamau Te’o. [Contributed photo.]

Opening addresses by USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer and Sustainable Business Management and Improvement (SBMI) Executive Director Steve Ivey highlighted the contributions the University was making to the local region.

Mr Ivey said keynote speaker Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O’Connell focused on regional development, local communities and business opportunities linking those areas with the need of decision makers for better data and accurate analytics in support of decisions.

“By all accounts the event was highly successful with delegates having enjoyable few days at beautiful world-heritage-listed Fraser Island. They found the sessions rewarding and the overall experience enriching to them individually and their institutions,” Mr Ivey said.

“The forum program comprised of over 30 presentations, workshops and various interest group meetings as well informal networking activities.

“Discussions also covered data and information, issues, challenges and solutions in support of decision making in higher education institutions.”

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Feature photo: The Maheno washed ashore on Fraser Island during a cyclone in 1935 where the wreck remains as a popular tourist attraction.

 

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