Above Image- Back: Associate Professor Dr. Adam Polkinghorne Middle (L-R): PhD Student Mentors Sankhya Bommana, Alyce Taylor-Brown, Delaney Burnard, Kasha Strickland, Tamieka Fraser, Anthony Schultz Front (L-R): GCC DeLorean Students Will Warner, Aaron Lerch, Catherine Manthey, Josh Coumi, Keeley Thomas, Lauren Paul, Daniel Mitchell.
On the evening of Wednesday 24 February, we had the opportunity to ‘meet and greet’ our USC partners. DeLorean students got to meet their research mentors (all PhD students) and ask them all of the questions they’ve been holding onto, since the end of last year, when they were selected for this project.
In a partnership that we believe has no equal nationwide, these students are in an enviable position to embrace what it is like, to not only attend university (as card carrying USC students), but to validly contribute to the broader scientific community, as USC researchers. This opportunity will give the DeLorean students experience in real laboratories, under real-life research circumstances, which will exceed the realm of expertise of many senior high school science teachers. The significance of this opportunity is only compounded by the international qualifications and experience of the dedicated PhD mentors who will work 1-on-1 with our students every Wednesday. Associate Professor Dr. Adam Polkinghorne, Director of the Animal Research Centre at USC, shared with students and their parents some of the flagship research programs that DeLorean students will be involved in; koala Chlamydia vaccine research, koala population mapping using sniffer dogs, the origin of Mange is wombats, the behavioural ecology in Eastern Bearded Water Dragons… and the list goes on. Differing from programs such as USC Headstart and other university/high school partnerships where students have the opportunity to study a subject while still in high school, our DeLorean students will be working alongside their PhD mentors as fellow researchers, not studying subjects, but completing real research.
The evening was a highlight of the DeLorean Project so far, one of getting to know each other and taking a moment to bask in the reality of the opportunity of their making a genuine and authentic contribution to the scientific community. We look forward to seeing the outcomes and hearing feedback from the USC DeLorean students once they begin this project in April.