Initiated by the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA), the symposium identified where Amateur Radio and the WIA can contribute to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) program, being promoted by the Federal Government.
Hosted by the Canberra Amateur Radio Club on November 19, it had 24 people attend to discuss seven presentations and a further 12 papers of suggestions, ideas and concepts. WIA Vice President Fred Swainston VK3DAC says the breadth of ideas and suggestions was immense.
Among them were a Portable Radio Telescope, a software defined radio (SDR) dongle, a space camp, radio wave propagation demonstration, Cubesat possibilities, building relationships with other STEM groups, maker/science fairs, and career entry. Fred VK3DAC noted that a number of groups were already involved by making young Australians interested in STEM subjects. In particular the symposium explored how Amateur Radio, and radio amateurs, can contribute to STEM by using their specialised talents through mentoring and coordinating interesting leading-edge activities.
A thoughtful robust discussion occurred leading towards a focussed outcome to greatly lift awareness and participation. Fred VK3DAC says the WIA will continue to support existing programs wherever possible and further develop some programs or projects. The symposium suggested that National as well as State and Territory coordinators be used to link with STEM programs as part of an overall WIA plan and strategy.
It was agreed by the participants that a network be established to further programs and projects and new members to this network are most welcome. There were 42 expressions of interest in the symposium received and all in the network will receive more information.
The STEM initiative has support from related industries, and teachers of STEM looking for some hands-on help from knowledgeable and skilled radio amateurs.