Making science accessible is the catchphrase for four Devonport women who’ve set up The TestPod — the establishment of a link between the education sector and the STEM — and now STEAM (adding “arts” as a vital creative component to the mix) community to provide a space to promote, explore and rejuvenate science. They have very focused short and long-term goals: First up, to get students actively engaged and involved in science and then further down the track, to establish a science centre for Auckland, modelled on those in London, Amsterdam, San Francisco and Melbourne.
The local women — Rachel Rohloff, Kath McGhie, Bettina Sinclair and Sonia Dupuch — all come from science and business backgrounds, and their enthusiasm and passion for the project is infectious. Everything is hands-on, interactive and full of energy. “It’s all about sparking innovation early”, says Kath, who spent six years at London’s Science Museum in a hands-on role as visitor experience manager. “A lot of people don’t realise what science is, so we’re aiming to link education and innovation and industry to make science more accessible.”
And their vision is already very strongly rooted within tertiary and primary groups in Auckland. Currently, around 60 AUT Spatial Design students are working on designs and models for ‘Seed Pods’ which will be used as prototypes for the science centre, and will go on display to the public later in the year. The TestPod has organised a very successful ‘trade fair’ style workshop, bringing students and suppliers together to further cement the collaboration. And the AUT students have spread the “SEEDS” to the Rongomai Primary STEM class in Otara where Year 5 and 6 students critiqued the designs and even came up with some of their own. Watch the video here