The university and TAFE campus in Moss Vale was buzzing with over 100 Year six students from Mittagong and Moss Vale Public Schools as they participated in the inaugural "Kids on Campus" on December 5.
Kids on Campus is a collaboration between University of Wollongong (UOW) Southern Highlands and TAFE Moss Vale, co-located on Kirkham Street campus.
University student mentors led the students through hands-on taster sessions from a variety of university and TAFE study areas.
They conducted DNA experiments, designed water-powered rockets and had fun with interactive sessions on health care, electro-technology, metal fabrication, critical thinking, coding and criminology.
"Having such a variety of sessions meant the students got to experience areas they may not have known about or considered previously," Ms Erin Acton, UOW Southern Highlands outreach coordinator said.
"Extracting and analysing DNA from a strawberry was a standout favourite. They also had lots of fun testing electrical circuits and firing rockets on campus."
Kids on Campus aims to raise aspiration to higher education and help young students learn about the many future careers open to them.
"The message is that further study is attainable for all students. There are so many tertiary study options and career paths - we want to get them thinking about the possibilities even as they progress into high school".
Ms Bronwen Westley of Mittagong Public School said that "the children were so excited to have such practical hands-on experiences - and they asked us to lock in 2020 dates soon".
It was a fun day for the TAFE and university teachers too. Ms Acton noted that session facilitators were very enthusiastic and passionate about their fields.
"It was amazing to watch their minds switch on and hear the chatter as they moved around campus.
"We hope that the conversation keeps going at home, and again in the outreach sessions we conduct when they are in high school".