Muswellbrook High School's Tahlia Fennel, Tyla Barlow and Phoebe Wolfgang celebrate success at 2019 HunterWiSE Outreach Program awards

HunterWiSE 2019 winners Tahlia Fennel and Tyla Barlow from Muswellbrook High School were presented their award by Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon. Absent: Phoebe Wolfgang
HunterWiSE 2019 winners Tahlia Fennel and Tyla Barlow from Muswellbrook High School were presented their award by Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon. Absent: Phoebe Wolfgang

MUSWELLBROOK High School students Tahlia Fennel, Tyla Barlow and Phoebe Wolfgang shone brightly at the recent 2019 HunterWiSE Outreach Program awards.

Female pupils with a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) gathered to recognise and celebrate the winners of this year's initiative.

A University of Newcastle project, HunterWiSE (Hunter Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship) is comprised of exceptional academics who work with local high schools to increase the number of girls and women participating in STEM.

Students from nine schools across the region were involved in a 10-week program culminating in a competition to develop a solution to a local community issue.

More than 100 pupils worked with university mentors to tackle the subject.

Wolfgang, Fennel and Barlow were announced as the winners for their idea, Furever Pets, a website collating information on pets for adoption in the Muswellbrook area.

Employing skills in research and web design, the judges commented that their project was exceptionally well-executed.

The program included a visit to the university or an industry site, giving the participants the opportunity to meet women employed in STEM fields and see it in action first-hand.

The students not only proposed a solution to their chosen community problem but also developed a video pitch to submit to a panel of judges.

Year 8 and 9 students from Muswellbrook High School, St Mary's Catholic College, Maitland High School, Hunter River High, Newcastle High School, Callaghan College Waratah Technology Campus, Gorokan High School, Dungog High School and Singleton High School took part.

The HunterWiSE team - consisting of Professor Regina Berretta, Dr Karen Blackmore, Associate Professor Anna Giacomini, Professor Sarah Johnson, Dr Elena Prieto, Professor Juanita Todd and Professor Erica Wanless - would like to acknowledge the support of Muswellbrook Shire Council, Glencore, Hunter Water, Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group, GHD, Roads and Maritime Services, and the University of Newcastle.