Encouraging the young

Encouraging the youngAn initiative of the School’s Industry Advisory Committee, the UNSW Civil and Environmental Engineering Primary School Prize in Mathematics prize is now in its seventh year. The key objective of the Prize is to encourage a lifelong interest in mathematics, as one of the key requirements for a rewarding, fulfilling and socially useful engineering career.

Our aim is to raise the profile of mathematics and engineering at an early age - as statistics show that the fall away from higher level maths begins much earlier than Year 10. We wanted to find a way of communicating the practical value of maths and science to students prior to their high school years.

Ably administered by external relations project coordinator Tricia Tesoriero, each prize is presented by staff or alumni of the School to the young student at the end of year presentation. Presenting the prize in person gives both students and parents a chance to meet a real life engineer. It also brings the university into the primary school arena, further connecting us with our community.

Selection criteria for the Prize is left up to the individual school but we emphasize applications and creativity as well as class projects and test results. Many primary schools prefer to share the prize of $100 amongst several years – all students are issued with a special Certificate signed by the Head of School and the Chair of our Industry Advisory Committee.

Over eighty NSW schools participated in the 2016 Maths Prize, and prizes were given to 245 students, of whom, pleasingly, nearly one quarter were girls. It is important to us that girls receive such encouragement in their maths journey - as gender disparity in maths/ science at HSC level has actually worsened since the 1980s.

Our congratulations go to all the young winners. We hope to see them at UNSW one day.

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