Ballina students Gabriel Lynch and Cassie Eady at the Southern Cross University robotics challenge day on Friday, November 16.
Ballina students Gabriel Lynch and Cassie Eady at the Southern Cross University robotics challenge day on Friday, November 16. Liana Turner

Scientific minds gather for robotics showdown

BUDDING engineers from across the Northern Rivers have gathered to put their skills to the test.

Southern Cross University held its Robo Cup Challenge, in which primary and high school students built robots to tackle a maze, sumo wrestling or dance challenge, on Friday.

SCU mechanical engineering lecturer Dr Habib Habibullah said with a shortage of engineering graduates, it was vital to get young minds interested in the field.

Dr Habibullah said this challenge and the SCU Robotics Club were also a great way to get young people engaged with science more broadly.

"There's no limit for the club,” Dr Habibullah said.

Ebony Pederson, Jayden Mills and Janatla Mercy from Casino at the Southern Cross University robotics challenge day on Friday, November 16.
Ebony Pederson, Jayden Mills and Janatla Mercy from Casino at the Southern Cross University robotics challenge day on Friday, November 16. Liana Turner

"Anyone who can demonstrate and have a love for robotics... they can come along.”

He said about 20 people went along to the club's gatherings each Wednesday.

"It's important because the purpose is to get the community engaged with SCU and also to grow a fascination and love in the community and new generations for science and engineering,” he said.

"The national demand for engineering workforce is about 20,000 per year, but we're producing from all our Australian universities only 8000.

"We need, still 13,000... to add into our engineering job market.

"We're providing a world-class engineering education, science and other education at SCU.”

Xavier Catholic College students Cassie Eady and Gabriel Lynch said the day was a great opportunity to delve into engineering.

Cassie said she hoped to study mechatronics and already built robots at home.

She felt the challenge was great for Northern Rivers students.

"It's really good that it's local,” she said.

SCU lecturer Dr Habib Habibullah with Ballina students Gabriel Lynch and Cassie Eady at the Southern Cross University robotics challenge day on Friday, November 16.
SCU lecturer Dr Habib Habibullah with Ballina students Gabriel Lynch and Cassie Eady at the Southern Cross University robotics challenge day on Friday, November 16. Liana Turner

Cassie and Gabriel, currently in Year 10, were building a Sumo robot to compete in Friday

Ebony Pederson, Janatla Mercy and Jayden Mills from Casino West Public School also took part in the challenge.

"It's really fun putting them together,” Ebony said.

Janatla said the day was a good challenge as it involved plenty of problem-solving.

Jim McInerney is a member of the community who's involved in SCU Robotics Club said events like this were hugely important in piquing young students' interest in science.

"We started doing this three years ago, I think,” he said.

"The teachers were learning just as much as the students were.”

Involved in Friday's challenge were students from Lismore High School, Vistara Primary School, Xavier Catholic College, Casino West Public School, Bexhill Public School, Wollumbin High School, Empire Vale Public School and Wyrallah Road Public School.

The SCU robotics club meets each Wednesday from 3.30 to 5.30pm.

More details: www.scu.edu.au/school-of-environment-science-and-engineering/events/scu-robotics-club.php



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