GWSC crowned National Champions in the ‘F1 AusGP’ STEM Challenge for the second consecutive year! Congratulations to our Year 9 Research Science ‘STEM’ Team who won the National Finals of the 2023 ‘Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix’ STEM Challenge….
Kudos to our GWSC Year 9 Research Science ‘STEM’ Team of Mary Elise Cheah, Samara Rahman, Ishi Srivastava, Yashita Uppalapati and Methuli Weerawala Kankanamalage, who WON the National Finals of the 2023 ‘Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix’ STEM Challenge!
We are extremely proud of these five GWSC girls who are just the second all-female team to qualify for the national finals of this prestigious competition and also the second all-female team to take home the ‘F1 AusGP’ STEM Challenge national championship!
All five students represented themselves, their families and our college community so very well throughout the entire competition, which kicked off at the start of Term 1 this year. They firstly had to qualify for the National Finals by designing and developing a prototype 'Supersonic Aircraft’ capable of travelling at supersonic speed at an altitude of 40,000 feet. Our STEM team also had to consider what design aspects they would include if their aircraft were to undertake tight turns, barrel rolls and marvellous manoeuvres whilst sustaining supersonic capabilities. They were also required to address a series of STEM-based considerations associated with form and function, scale and measurement, matter and energy, systems modelling, in addition to data collection and analysis, processing and communications technologies. Our STEM Team named their sustainable supersonic aircraft the ‘Plungin’ Peregrine’, as it contained unique systems and materials that were environmentally friendly, whilst many of the key design elements within the aircraft were based on biomimetic studies of the world’s fastest animal, the peregrine falcon.
From 183 entries nation-wide, our GWSC STEM Team’s ‘Plungin’ Peregrine’ supersonic aircraft was adjudged to be one of the top three designs from Secondary Schools right across Australia, which secured their spot in the National Finals at the 2023 ‘F1 AusGP’. For the National Finals, they then had to prepare a Pitch Deck presentation which firstly outlined all of the key STEM principles, in addition to links to F1 vehicle engineering and technologies, that were incorporated into the design of their prototype aircraft. Our students also explored what eco-friendly materials and systems they could utilise if they wanted to enhance the sustainability of their aircraft, whilst maintaining is supersonic capabilities.
Our GWSC STEM Team presented their Pitch Deck on the main stage of the 2023 ‘Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix’ at the Albert Park Track, alongside teams from Sunbury Downs College and St Monica’s College. All members of our ‘Plungin’ Peregrine’ STEM Team confidently delivered their presentation on stage in front of the expert judging panel consisting of representatives from the international aerospace company BAE Systems, the Royal Australian Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and also STEM Hub. Our students delivered an informative and highly entertaining pitch in the competition final, then engaged in a ‘Q&A’ session with the expert panel where they were posed some very technical and tricky questions.
At the conclusion of the National Final, our ‘Plungin’ Peregrine’ STEM Team were absolutely ecstatic when they were announced as the National Champions of the 2023 'Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix' STEM Challenge! The panel of expert judges were blown away by the detail and thought which our STEM team had put into their design and associated Pitch Deck, awarding them a unanimous victory 2 points clear of the runner’s up. It was amazing to witness the support and round of rapturous applause that Mary Elise, Samara, Ishi, Yashita and Methuli received from their fellow GWSC students, alongside all of the F1 fans in the audience surrounding the main stage.
All five members of our victorious ‘Plungin’ Peregrine’ STEM Team were then taken on a special VIP Experience and Tour of the exclusive F1 Paddock, where they met leading F1 driver Kevin Magnussen (‘Haas F1 Team’) and also reserve F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo (‘Red Bull F1 Team’), who both kindly stopped to take photographs with our students and also speak with them. The ‘Plungin’ Peregrine’ STEM Team were then engaged in a behind the scenes tour of the F1 Team Garages, explored the FiA Media Hub and also made a quick pit stop in pit lane, where the roar of the F1 cars was definitely deafening during their first practice session on the Albert Park track. It was indeed an incredible experience for all members of our STEM team to be involved in!
Special thank-you to Mr Robinson for mentoring our STEM team throughout this competition and thanks also to Ms Armen and Mr Crossett for assisting with the supervision of our GWSC student support crew on the day of the National Finals at the 2023 ‘F1 AusGP’.
We would also like to thank the FiA, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, BAE Systems and STEM Hub for sponsoring, organising and running the 2023 ‘F1 AusGP’ STEM Challenge for our students. Thank-you also to the FiA ‘Girls on Track’ Program who have previously engaged our future female STEM leaders in a range of unique motorsport and mentoring programs, which greatly assisted our STEM team throughout the competition.
Congratulations again to Mary Elise, Samara, Ishi, Yashita and Methuli on winning the 2023 ‘F1 AusGP’ STEM Challenge National Championship, it is an incredible achievement and a well-deserved reward for your dedication, teamwork and tireless efforts. We look forward to following your careers in the F1 or a STEM related field in the not too distant future!
Mr Mark Robinson.
Glen Waverley Secondary College