The STEM project encourages young people to think outside the box

Penrith City Council is pleased with the adoption of the STEM Community Partnerships Project (STEM CPP), a program designed to inspire and develop young minds.

Students from 12 local high schools are currently participating in the programme, a partnership with CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency. The program connects 9th and 10th grade students with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) industry professionals as they tackle research-based projects and develop solutions for real-world challenges.

Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchen said the number of schools choosing to participate in 2022 reflected the community’s shared desire to think innovatively and advance our knowledge for a better future.

“It’s fantastic that we have 12 local schools, spread across the city, seeing the value of a program that will develop our students’ knowledge and create future learning and career paths for them in vital areas of STEM,” said Cr Hitchen.

“We know that Penrith is on the verge of big change and that with growing investment in our town comes better opportunities in health, education, research and manufacturing – that’s where these students will grow and be our next leaders in their areas of expertise,” she said. .

The program is part of CSIRO’s Generation STEM initiative, made possible by a $25 million endowment from the NSW Government to the Endowment Fund for Science and Industry. Generation STEM aims to develop students and meet the growing need for a STEM-focused workforce.

At the local level, teachers and students are starting to meet with their mentors from nearby businesses and organizations to start working on the projects that the students will present at a showcase event later in the year.

Participating pupils from Glenmore Park Secondary School recently visited the Western Sydney International (WSI) Experience Center in Badgerys Creek before returning to school for a presentation from their mentor, Andrew Hewson, Head of Sustainable Development Education Council.

Andrew discussed the benefits of living, learning and working in the Penrith Local Government Area (LGA) and how the new Western Sydney Airport (Nancy-Bird Walton) will transform the city and its transport links. associated transportation.

He also listed examples of STEM-based research the Council has undertaken and how various sustainability initiatives have been implemented through programs and adapted for use in the design of city-shaping projects to create a better quality of life for residents now and in the future.

Bradley Koen and Ryan Masri, students of Glenmore Park High, actively participated in the presentation and said they were amazed to hear about the green features planned for the Penrith CBD City Park and Soper Place projects.

The couple attended STEM CPP in 2021 working with their peers to research how the use of genetically modified plants could reduce heat stress in certain regions, and agreed it was “a really good learning opportunity”.

“It’s hands-on — it gives you great insight into the design and planning aspects of projects, and how to think outside the box,” Ryan said.

Bradley, who plans to study civil engineering, said: “We were able to see the work of students from two other schools whose projects focused on water. It was great to hear their ideas and learn how to better develop and present our own ideas. ”

Students from all participating schools will continue to work on their projects and showcase their work at the Showcase event in November.

This is the second year in a three-year partnership that the Council and CSIRO are offering the STEM CPP program at Penrith.

To find out more about the program visit

Photo caption: Council Sustainability Education Officer Andrew Hewson with students from the STEM CPP program at Glenmore Park Secondary School.

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