FameLab Academy Australia
“Revolutionising Science Communication in WA schools”
- FameLab Academy is a schools’ initiative that challenges Year 9 and Year 10 students to communicate a topic of their choice in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths (STEM).
- FameLab Academy is a sister competition to Cheltenham Festival’s FameLab, the world’s leading science communication competition which finds and mentors young STEM researchers to share their stories with the world.
- Wednesday 19 August, 12.30-2pm the FameLab Academy presentations were performed in front of a live studio audience at Cecil Andrews College Performing Arts Centre and live streamed FREE to over 12 schools for 320 students all around Western Australia via Webex!
- Three schools and eleven amazing students were participating in the pilot year of this project in Australia; Cecil Andrews College, Sacred Heart College and Ashdale Secondary College.
- FameLab Academy contestants presented ‘off-curriculum’ STEM topics they are personally passionate about and have researched independently. Each student has been paired with a FameLab Australia finalist to be a mentor and provide one-to-one coaching and feedback.
- FameLab Academy finalists are armed only with their wits and props and are inspired to focus on communicating research in creative ways in just 3 minutes. Props and costumes are encouraged!
- The winner was decided by acclaimed judges; Dr Paola Magni, Doctor of Forensic Biology and Winner of FameLab Australia 2019; Dr Mikael Siversson, Palaeologist and Head of Department, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Western Australian Museum and Valeria Senigaglia, PhD candidate, Marine Biologist, Dolphin expert and Winner FameLab WA 2020.
- All FameLab Academy finalists were winners on the day inspiring the live VIP audience including Annie Fogarty AM, 2020 Western Australian of the Year for her dedication to education advocacy through the Fogarty Foundation alongside Professor Lyn Beazley, former Chief Scientists and 2015 Western Australian of the Year for her contribution as a passionate advocate for STEM. The FameLab Academy finalists impressed everyone with their passion, impressive research and stage charisma. The future is in good hands!
Encouraging STEM studies through passion and theatre … a Cheltenham Festivals Impact Report on FameLab Academy found ….
- Student participation in FameLab Academy allows participants to feel more confident in their ability to prepare factual and engaging presentations on STEM subjects
- Cheltenham Festivals’ FameLab Academy leads to a clear increase in the ability to confidently present to audiences
- Parents of participants report that participation has led to their children having higher levels of confidence in general, and this is seen especially among children who lack confidence and experience anxiety
- FameLab Academy leads to a greater enjoyment of STEM subjects among participants, which arises from a wider exposure to the practical applications of STEM, and the diversity of STEM subjects (that are not traditionally included within the curriculum)
- Those who participate in FameLab Academy develop a greater understanding of careers available within the STEM sector. This greater awareness results from being exposed to STEM mentors, particularly when mentors are apprentices and/or are STEM professionals in roles external to universities.
“We are extraordinarily excited to deliver a new and innovative FameLab Australia this year adapted to the COVID environment. 2020 FameLab Finalists Alumni volunteered to mentor years 9 and year 10 school students who are competing in the FameLab Academy Final. We are very proud to bring to Western Australia schools a global first partnership MOU with Cheltenham Festivals, which is part of the National Science Week with our Leadership School for the inaugural programme, Cecil Andrews College.” said Jenny Allen, CEO, Foundation for the Western Australian Museum.
“We are very excited to be leading in the first of the FameLab in Schools Academy partnership along with high performing STEM schools. It is an incredibly engaging opportunity for students to combine their creativity, passion and talent to bring science and innovation to life in a dynamic way.” said Stella Jinman, Principal, Cecil Andrews College, Educator Hotlist 2020.
“FameLab Academy has impacted over 10,000 students in the UK so far. We are delighted to be working with FWAM to initiate a vibrant international network of partners building the confidence and inspiration of young people through STEM.” Ali Mawle, Director of Learning and Public Engagement, Cheltenham Festivals
More about the 2020 FameLab Academy Finalists
- Chelsea Rodillas, Ashdale Secondary College – What part of the brain can you live without? – WINNER
- Abbey McQueen, Sacred Heart College – Our Memory is like a Treasure Chest! – The Science of Memory – RUNNER UP
- Malakai Eades, Cecil Andrews College – Artificial Intelligence WILD CARD
- Mary Manubag, Cecil Andrews College – Genomodification
- Matthew Keedy, Ashdale Secondary College – Why does water not fall out of a cup when it spins?
- Jayden Edwards, Cecil Andrews College – 5G
- Mireyah Arago, Cecil Andrews College – Radiation
- Rhori Parr, Ashdale Secondary College – Is there power behind positive thoughts?
- Benjamin Hicks, Sacred Heart College – The Worlds Natural Travellers – Migration
- Grace Kane, Sacred Heart College – Already Seen, Deja Vu
- Kelvin Law, Ashdale Secondary College – Why does a violin sound the way it does?
- Alex Mennie, Sacred Heart College – Food of Tomorrow – GMO’s
FameLab Academy Australia Leadership School – Cecil Andrews College
Stella Jinman, Principal arrived at a school in distress with students struggling, measurably by a low Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) ranking, meaning it serves some of Perth’s most disadvantaged students. Five years ago, the school had a 33 per cent attainment rate, meaning only one-third of students had achieved their WA Certificate of Education. The Cecil Andrews College attainment rate is now 90 per cent, and the number of students enrolled at the school has grown from more than 400 to 750 from years 7 to 12. The principal credits a teacher recruitment drive and STEM focus.
Cecil Andrews Principal, Stella Jinman, was awarded one of the Western Australian 20 in 20 Women in Technology Awards, which recognise 20 women who have made a significant contribution to technology in Western Australia over the last 20 years. Stella is an advocate for STEM, reached her goal of opening the first government funded, purpose built $4.5m STEM Centre in Australia,
a state-of-the-art technology hub in December 2017. Stella has also been nominated for School Principal of the Year in the 2020 Australian Education Awards and Educator Hotlist 2020.
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Chelsea Rodillas, Ashdale Secondary College – What part of the brain can you live without? – WINNER