RMIT hosted 21 Indigenous students from around the country during NAIDOC week as part of the 2016 Victorian Indigenous Engineering Winter School (VIEWS).
The VIEWS program is a unique collaboration between RMIT, University of Melbourne, Swinburne University and Monash University. The program shows Indigenous students a little about university life while showcasing the range of engineering courses on offer.
At RMIT, senior secondary students received a tour of engineering and Indigenous facilities across the City campus, including Ngarara Willim Centre.
At RMIT's Advanced Manufacturing Precinct, students were inspired as they held a 3D-printed box made of a titanium mesh.
Students also explored the city and headed 30 metres underground at Melbourne Central Station to hear from Metro staff about the technicalities of Melbourne's public transport system.
To complete the day, they were invited to design and build bridges made of pasta and hot glue, demonstrating the strength of their creations to RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean CBE; Pro Vice-Chancellor Science, Engineering and Health and Vice-President, Professor Peter Coloe; and acting Executive Dean of Engineering, Professor Sujeeva Setunge.
Western Australian high school student Chantelle Gilbert said she could now see the full potential of what university had to offer.
"I like going through all of the labs – it’s something you don’t get to see every day,” Gilbert said.
"Lots of my family are engineers and it's something I’ve always wanted to do.”
After completing and naming their bridges, students tested them by adding small weights. Winners were decided by which bridge could withstand the heaviest load.
The winners were an all-female team, including the youngest VIEWS participant, who put their mathematics skills to work using trigonometry to optimise their design.
Their bridge weighed only 103 grams but managed to hold up an impressive 1220 grams.
The VIEWS program plays an essential role in providing Indigenous students with a unique and interactive insight into to the diverse opportunities available for tertiary education.
Story: Nate Byrne