Scientist shares STEM wisdom with ag students

WA College of Agriculture Cunderdin STEM co-ordinator Nadine Smith, centre, with Professor Lyn Beazley and students Rohan Butler, Jacob Anthony, Jessi Shannon, Brady Garlick, Jarvis Way,Tim Porter, and Zoe Christison.
WA College of Agriculture Cunderdin STEM co-ordinator Nadine Smith, centre, with Professor Lyn Beazley and students Rohan Butler, Jacob Anthony, Jessi Shannon, Brady Garlick, Jarvis Way,Tim Porter, and Zoe Christison.

Acclaimed scientist Lyn Beazley has visited students at the WA College of Agriculture Cunderdin to share her passion for science.

Professor Beazley, who was WA Chief Scientist from 2006 to 2013, toured the College facilities and spoke to students about the value of a science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) background when forging their careers in agricultural and associated industries.

Professor Beazley was a key adviser to the Western Australian Government on science, innovation and technology during her time as Chief Scientist.

She told students that Australia needed 2000 agricultural graduates every year and encouraged them to pursue the many opportunities and directions that agriculture offered in research, production, natural resource management and food services sectors.

"Up to 40 per cent of existing jobs will disappear in the next 10 years and 75 per cent of new jobs will need STEM," she said.

"The College offers a terrific opportunity for students to learn the theory and practice of agriculture, the associated trade industries and more, from highly professional and dedicated staff in well equipped facilities and a supportive environment."

Professor Beazley also outlined the way STEM could be applied to every facet of agriculture and primary production such as precision agriculture, drone usage, grain breeding technology and biofuels.

The College has made STEM a key priority, recently being announced as a recipient of an Internet of Things grant from the Department of Agriculture.

Additionally, the College has been selected as a Department of Education STEM Pioneer School, with staff members receiving training and guidance to develop a whole school approach to STEM.

College Principal Sally Panizza said the school was fortunate to have Professor Beazley visit the College and share her knowledge with the students.

"She thoroughly enjoyed her tour, commenting on the passion of staff and the enthusiasm and critical thinking of our students reaffirming our College is establishing strong pathways for future careers in agriculture and associated industries," Ms Panizza said.