USC CHALLENGE: St Mary's College students Cammie Burridge, Kate Bensted and Sky Neal.
USC CHALLENGE: St Mary's College students Cammie Burridge, Kate Bensted and Sky Neal.

Coast students shine with STEM skills

MARYBOROUGH'S St Mary's College and Hervey Bay's Urangan State High School are among the winners of USC's maths Modelling Challenge competing against more than 20 high schools from across Queensland.

St Marys students Sky Neale, Cammie Burridge and Kate Bensted won the 'mathematics of kindness' category, based on the theory that kindness was contagious and could spread exponentially.

Challenge judge, USC physicist Dr Kathryn Broadhouse said a scenario most teams came up with was that it would take at least 31 days for all seven billion people in the world to receive an act of kindness.

"St Marys took the concept to a whole new level by applying more complex modelling to reflect realistic interactions and social connections and the effect this would have on the projected timeline," she said.

The 'social media carbon footprint' scenario category was won by Urangan State High School students Seb Clarke, Jacob Killer and Ryan Wheatley.

USC CHALLENGE: Urangan State High School students Ryan Wheatley, Seb Clarke and Jacob Killer.
USC CHALLENGE: Urangan State High School students Ryan Wheatley, Seb Clarke and Jacob Killer.

They used modelling to determine how much of Australia's annual CO2 emissions was generated from users each posting a single selfie per day on a social media platform.

Marina Fitzpatrick from USC's School of Science and Engineering said all participating schools received online presentations on maths modelling and its use in the real world from USC researchers, as well as tips on how to approach the challenge criteria.

Students then worked in small groups to develop, model and present their findings, with the top model from each school submitted online to USC STEM judges.

Ms Fitzpatrick said the challenge, was designed to inspire the next generation of leaders in STEM fields.