College students receive Science Roadshow visit 

STAWELL - Stawell Secondary College and Marian College chemistry students received a visit from Victoria University's Science Roadshow recently.

The university's roadshow is aimed at boosting science in regional Victorian schools and strengthening its commitment to educating budding scientists with a travelling laboratory.

VU has a mobile laboratory that's part of the travelling show, which contains state-of-the-art scientific equipment including a liquid chromatograph for separating and analysing mixtures

and an ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer to analyse samples with light absorption.

Eight year 12 students (five from Stawell and three from Marian College) currently studying unit three VCE chemistry, participated in the two hour activity.

The students and their teachers were able to put theory into practice with hands-on access to analytical instruments with experiments including the analysis of aspirin in medications, caffeine in energy drinks and sugars in honey.

Dr Domenico Caridi, senior lecturer at Victoria University was on hand to guide students through the practical aspects of the program.

He explained the significance of the Science Roadshow.

"It's an opportunity to give students a hands on and practical perspective," he said.

"That's the main aim and it has been well-received."

Joining Dr Caridi was Raymond Horsley, who had been contracted to help develop a new laboratory program for undergraduate students and Victoria University student recruitment coordinator, Geoff Schilling as well as VU PHD student Aida Isic.

Mr Schilling has another unique role - he drives the VU Science Roadshow bus containing the mobile laboratory, around the state.

The bus is not only used for science students but for delivery of other education programs.

"We've been using the program in schools and in the community for course advice and career counselling," Mr Schilling said.

"We have computer courses, trade programs for VET students such as plumbing, carpentry and sign writing.

"Students can build a pencil box or do some brick laying."

Victoria University purchased the bus in 2010, which was originally a mobile cellar for a winery.

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