Students take up outreach baton

Three ANU students have taken matters into their own hands to ensure high school students from Australia’s regional areas can learn about science, engineering, technology and the arts and humanities from a uni student’s perspective. The students have created a group known as Engage, whose aim is to raise money to continue programs now that their four-year federal funding has run out. Under Engage, groups such as the ANU-based chapters of Engineers Without Borders and Robogals, will have funding for outreach programs at regional high schools – or to make science, technology, engineering and the arts and humanities accessible to students in years 7 to 10.

“For the past three or so years, Robogals has worked to extend their work from Canberra out to rural areas, which we think is really important,” said Engage co-founder and 22-year-old Bachelor of Engineering student Sam Cheah. “So we’re basically trying to start a new group so that we’d follow that same sort of model because we know it works,” she said. Engage would also provide funding for accommodation and transport to the groups that come on board with the outreach program.

“So all the clubs need to do is get their equipment and volunteers together and turn up at the school, except they’ll spend three or four days out in the rural areas instead of just being limited to Canberra,” she said. Engage is also interested in helping new programs get off the ground and they are looking for individuals or new groups who have an interest in showcasing their fields of expertise to high school kids. “We’re all ANU students doing this, but we’re not restricting ourselves because our aim is university topics in general,” she said. “We’ve got a strong link with ANU but if someone is interested who is not from the ANU, we’d love to have that conversation with them.”

Three pilot trips have been run so far under the Engage outreach program. “We’re aiming to run more trips in November and we do want to be expanding what we do, especially to all the disciplines as well,” she said. Groups across the University wishing to work with Engage’s school outreach program can contact Sam Cheah via email at

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