Investigating a crime, handling human bones and using high-tech university equipment are a few of the things Rachael Mieni from Young High School has done over her summer holidays.
The budding forensic scientist joined 220 Year 11 students from schools in South Western Sydney and regional NSW who were welcomed onto the University of Technology, Sydney, campus for two-weeks to participate in the U@Uni Summer School. This was the program’s largest cohort ever, including 41 refugee students and 14 indigenous students.
Rachael said she believes the summer school program has given her an idea of university life.
“The summer school program has taught me a lot about forensic science and has made me feel like I could fit into a university in the city,” she said.
Now in its sixth year, the program has grown into an opportunity for students to create professional films using the university’s cutting-edge equipment, push their creative limits by designing lamps and fashion items, or even take care of high-tech robotic ‘patients’ in a simulated hospital setting.
UTS Director of Equity and Diversity, Jude Stoddart, said the program targets students from priority schools, aiming to demystify university study and encourage them to aspire to tertiary education and provide support leading up to their HSC.
“The program hopes to give the students a taste of university life and to keep the possibility of university as an option when it comes to making decisions for their future.” Ms Stoddart said, “Most participants come from families where neither parent holds a university degree.”
To acknowledge and celebrate the work and progress of the students during the U@Uni Summer School Program students, along with their family and friends, were invited to participate in a graduation ceremony. Around 800 guests, teachers and university representatives attended.
On the graduation night they were awarded a certificate, and dressed in formal graduation gowns.