2016 SSAI National Schools Poster Competition Winners Revealed

Thursday, 15 December 2016

In conjunction with the Statistical Society of Australia’s (SSAI) Australian Statistics Conference (ASC), Dr Peter Howley from the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences coordinated this year’s National Primary and Secondary Schools Poster Competition: Display and Awards Ceremony which was held at Hotel Realm, Canberra on December 8th. The event recognised 828 students nationwide (apart from South Australia and Northern Territory) who took part in the competition, with 293 posters submitted for judging overall.

Dr Peter Howley with the Year 9-10 division winners, Soohoon Lee, Lachlan Shilling and Daniel Qin, and their teacher, Dianna Fitzsimons

The participating teams comprised of two to five students ranging from Years 3 to 10, and were required to produce an informative poster presentation which addresses a practical research question, based on the collection and interpretation of data. In addition to competing for monetary gift cards valued up to $150, participants were awarded with certificates and provided with an opportunity to learn more about Statistics, its importance within STEM and the Health and Environmental Sciences, as well as engage with academic and professional staff working within the discipline.

The event was well received, with the International Statistics Institute’s President, Professor Helen MacGillivray, commending the competition and its organisers in her keynote address during OZCOTS2016. She noted its success and significance in connecting schools with statistics, and the importance of its continuing engagement and growth.

Key representatives from the ACT Education System and the Director of Scientific Computing and Systems Engineering at Geosciences Australia, Dr Ole Nielsen, were notable attendees, with Dr Neilson declaring, “Merging the children’s learning with the real world is so important and so rare. This is such a great initiative!”

As part of his national grants surrounding equity and increased access to higher education, Dr Howley is rolling out the competition to remote and rural regions of Australia. Additionally, he will collaborate with Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment Director, Dr Tim Roberts, and the Wollotuka Institute’s Associate Professor Maree Gruppetta, to unite environmental science and statistics during their remote and rural schools visits in 2017.

Participant numbers have increased significantly over the past three years, from 85 students in the pilot program held in the Hunter Region in 2014, to 828 students nationally in 2016. Dr Howley anticipates that entry growth will continue nationally, as well as internationally in 2017, as he has been invited to host the competition in New Zealand next year.

Congratulations to this year’s winners and honourable mentions for each division.

  • Dr Peter Howley
  • Phone: 02 4921 5518

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