As an eight-year-old primary school student, Shelby Craik first checked out Griffith University’s science facilities when her school project on the impact of plastic on ocean life placed in the top three of a Gold Coast science competition.

The Grade 3 turned Grade 10 student from Palm Beach State High was back in a Griffith science lab last week, again considering the range of science-based careers she could pursue in the future.

Shelby was among 240 high school students visiting the Nathan campus across two days as part of the ConocoPhillips Science Experience.

“I know I want to do something in science but I don’t know what I want to do in science so it is great to have this chance to discover more,” she said.

The high school students from throughout Queensland and northern NSW ran the gamut of scientific experiences from extracting banana DNA to glimpsing microscopic life to soldering power into a Griffith bike light.

“There are so many different directions a career in science can take and it’s great to get a flavour of what it might be like,” Phoebe Keck from Brisbane Girls Grammar School said.

Students were also treated to lectures by Dr Sarah Cresswell from Griffith’s School of Natural Sciences and Dr Michael Weible from the Eskitis Centre for Cell and Molecular Therapies.

Stem cells

Amelia Cody-Byfield, also from Palm Beach State High in Currumbin, hopes to work in physics and neuroscience in the future and Dr Weible’s lecture proved a treat for her. His 45-minute presentation in the Sir Samuel Griffith Building offered students an exciting insight into how the brain functions.

DDr Weible (left) explained why colours are constructs of the mind, revealed a moonwalking bear in a perceptual blindness exercise and detailed a historical snapshot of neuroscience from Ancient Egypt to neuro stem cells.

Gladstone students, Jasmine Elliott and Kanu Giardian, and Alistair Wilson from Ferny Grove State High between them hope to be a vet, a paediatric surgeon and an electrical engineer. All three confirmed the experience as exciting and interesting.

The Nathan campus tour was coordinated by Brooke Jensen who is studying a Bachelor of Science at Griffith. She said that Griffith had sponsored a number of Year 9 and 10 students to take part in the 4-day ConocoPhillips Science Experience, which also takes in visits to UQ and QUT.

The program aims to give high school students an opportunity to take part firsthand in science-based activities, boosting their burgeoning scientific and technological literacy in the process.

It also demonstrates to students how science and scientific research benefits the wider community and promotes Australian interests overseas.