Jacky Cai has an idea of a world made better by young people embracing science, technology, engineering and mathematics, so he's taken his vision on the road.
He and a team of colleagues visited schools across Orange, Dubbo, Gunnedah and Coonamble this week as part of an outreach program conducted by Engineers Without Borders Australia.
Orange Public School was one of the 15 schools which took part in the workshops with the 25-year-old mechatronic engineering graduate, his two colleagues, and 13 engineering student volunteers.
Engineering is what changes the world, and if we expose more people to humanitarian engineering, hopefully we can make a difference.Jacky Cai
The team delivered a program which focused on the role members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community could play in the future of STEM development.
Mr Cai said the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community are underrepresented in STEM fields both at university and in the wider professional industry.
He said by adapting their teaching model to fit a learning method developed by academics and members of the Indigenous community, they hoped to reach a broader audience.
"We teach by telling stories and using visuals over traditional analytical methods of learning," he said.
The team taught the students STEM lessons in a cultural context. They explained how Aboriginal people have always used science and engineering, even if they haven't called it that.
Mr Cai used the example of the boomerang, which he said was the design blueprint for the helicopter and fish traps, which he said are the oldest man-made structures in the world.
"By the end of the project we are hoping to play a beneficial role in promoting humanitarian engineering and encouraging students in regional communities to consider STEM as a future career path," he said.
"Engineering is what changes the world, and if we expose more people to humanitarian engineering, hopefully we can make a difference."
Mr Cai received $10,000 to fund the outreach trip through global equipment manufacturer Komatsu's, Live Your Dream, program.
He said while he's always loved engineering, it's been through Engineers Without Borders that he's realised the potential for engineering to solve social and environmental challengers.
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