The Lotterywest BioDiscovery Centre at the Perkins is a fully functioning, state-of-the-art teaching laboratory offering programs to thousands of Western Australians every year. And bright minds volunteer their time to help Perkins researchers run the programs, sharing their enthusiasm for science and STEM education.
Connecting the People of Perth to Perkins Research
With classes for high school students, specialist programs for gifted students and school holiday activities, as well as “Tour & Talk”, “Guest Speaker” and “Live in the Lab” programs for community groups, the BioDiscovery Centre helps cultivate a passion for science and an understanding of how medical research impacts us all.
Sessions are conducted by medical researchers and university science undergraduates making the BioDiscovery Centre a landmark Community Education Program in WA.
Three recent work placement students from UWA volunteered with the BioDiscovery team to assist the laboratory sessions, lab preparation and pack away, as well as office tasks. Eden Feleke, Sophie Yau and Prajna Paramita Taslim joined the team for several weeks recently.
The science work placement unit at UWA gave them all the opportunity to gain experience in the science industry.
“We were very fortunate to spend our time at the Perkins, specifically with the Lotterywest BioDiscovery Centre,” they said, in agreement.
Eden’s favourite part of her experience at the BioDiscovery Centre was when she had the opportunity to talk to researchers about their work and findings. Sophie enjoyed assisting the laboratory session with a community group tour where all they all got to extract DNA from a strawberry. Prajna’s favourite moment was helping with the Holiday Program for kids aged 10-14, where they learnt about bacteria.
Overall, going through this experience together made it most enjoyable, especially with the support from Judi and Julia – BioDiscovery Centre team leaders, said all three work placement students.
research is not finished until it is communicated
“We learnt that science communication is very important, and that research is not finished until it is communicated. We also found that the Perkins is not just about research: there are many other aspects that go into it,” they said.
The experience is such a reward that some, like Alexis Teeling, decide to stay on board.
Alexis was a work placement student before becoming a volunteer, and decided to stay on board simply because the overall environment at the Perkins is absolutely incredible, she said.
“The best part about my role here is being actively involved in the classes run by the BioDiscovery team. Uni students, along with some researchers, run lab classes for school groups based on different science topics like chemistry and human biology; it’s a great, interactive way to get students involved and excited about science. It’s rewarding to be able to influence high school students and encourage a STEM pathway. Doing a science degree myself, to be part of the Perkins – as a volunteer – is an honour.”
- Community groups – experience a tour and “Live in the Lab” experience
- Teachers – book an experience for your high school
- Individual students – enrol in a school holiday or immersion lab programs
Bookings subject to availability – it’s very popular!