Inspiring the next generation of STEM stars

Local primary and high school students have been given an exciting glimpse into potential careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) sector this week, after taking part in a series of fun and educational challenges led by a specialist team from the University of Newcastle.

Students sitting around a table working on a STEM problem.

Students testing their skills at the Science and Engineering Challenge Discovery Day. (Source: Inland Rail)


The STEM on Track events are a partnership between the Inland Rail Skills Academy and the University of Newcastle, successfully bringing the award-winning Science and Engineering Challenge to Wagga Wagga.

Across two days, local students took part in team challenges at the Wagga Wagga Showgrounds, helping them to identify future career opportunities in the highly valued STEM sector.

Around 350 students from fourteen Riverina schools took part in the fun, with activities including constructing model bridges, designing earthquake-proof towers, building a model glider, using 3D printed rocks to build ‘fish traps’, and creating codes to send secret messages.

Designed to build capability and aspirations in regional communities, the STEM on Track partnership supports the University of Newcastle to deliver educational programs in regional communities along the Inland Rail alignment.

Stephen Jones, Inland Rail Director of Health, Safety and Environment, said:

“We’re delighted that the STEM on Track partnership with the University of Newcastle is supporting young people in regional areas to have fun exploring science.

“The Science and Engineering Challenge days are an important way for us to give back to our communities and support the next generation of STEM professionals, giving them a positive experience of science and engineering.

“We are committed to supporting the wellbeing and prosperity of communities along the Inland Rail alignment and this partnership means students in regional communities are benefiting from these programs and having fun along the way.”

Lisa Campbell, Team Leader Engagement Science and Engineering Challenge, said:

“The STEM on Track partnership has been vital in allowing students from rural and remote locations to experience STEM opportunities.

“At Inland Rail sponsored events, we have had over 9,500 students competing in our STEM activities since the partnership launch in 2020. Of these participants, over half are from areas of low social-educational advantage and really benefit from the financial aid provided by Inland Rail.

“With over 48% of the Challenge participants being female and over 9% being First Nations students, the STEM on Track partnership is working to expand diversity in the STEM sector.”


Learn more about the Inland Rail Skills Academy

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