STEC@UKZN Steers Eden College Students towards STEM Careers

The Science and Technology Educational Centre at UKZN (STEC@UKZN) hosted Grade 8 and 9 learners from Eden College at a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) career guidance workshop.

Eden’s HOD of Physical Science, Mrs Chantal Sunpath had attended a Wonder Women in Science Breakfast with Grade 11 learners and enjoyed a science demonstration by UKZN’s Dr Tanja Reinhard. Inspired by the interactive and innovative presentation, Sunpath contacted STEC@UKZN to organise a STEM career guidance workshop.

The aim of the workshop was to motivate learners to study science by showing them the fun involved in the subject. ‘We want to encourage and motivate young scientific minds,’ said Sunpath.

The programme comprised a workshop on smart materials, a science centre tour and a science show. During the workshop, learners heard about different materials and what gives them their unique properties and then explored how these materials change with temperature and exposure to water and UV Light.

The visit extended learners’ thinking and prepared them for scientific problem solving. ‘Learners were involved in hands-on experiences and engaged in activities. They were eager to participate and observed how materials responded to different conditions,’ said Ms Nokwethaba Biyela, a STEC intern and one of the facilitators of the workshop.

Sunpath said the programme opened learners’ minds to new concepts and more investigation, which would extend their thinking.

Learner Ms Ravindra Singh, whose interests lie in science, IT and language, said the science centre was a place she would definitely visit again. When asked if the visit had motivated her to attend UKZN, Ravindra said: ‘UKZN is one of my universities of choice.’

Colleague Ms Jenna Fourie, who hopes to become a psychiatrist, said the workshop was very interesting, especially the science centre tour.

With Eden College being one of UKZN’s feeder schools, the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science in partnership with STEC@UKZN works hard to attract young people to pursue careers in scarce skills.

Words: Samantha Ngcongo

Photographs: Nokwethaba Biyela

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