Science and social change

engineering and computer science

Bold moves

By Laura Boness

Want to make a better world? Here’s how.

The world is rapidly changing and we face challenges that call for fresh ideas, creativity and enthusiasm. “We need local representatives and people in politics who can keep up,” says 29-year-old politician, town planner and 2013 Queensland Young Planner of the Year, Brittany Lauga.

“Young people understand technology, have the capabilities to keep up in a fast-paced world, and have innovative and entrepreneurial minds. We need bright minds to make positive changes in our communities.”

Brittany completed a Bachelor of Urban Development, with a major in urban and regional planning, at QUT. She worked in a planning firm in Brisbane as a student and then at the Department of Public Works as a graduate before returning to Central Queensland to work in a planning, environmental and engineering firm.

“I had the amazing opportunity to work on so many challenging projects as a young planner,” she says.

The State Member for Keppel, Brittany was inspired to get into politics while working as a planner, when she received government and council funding for a waterplay area in her community.

Now Brittany is working on funding to make the beach accessible for people with disabilities or mobility issues, and parents with prams.

Social media is another powerful tool for change. Lizzy Lowe, a PhD Candidate in the Integrative Ecology Lab at the University of Sydney, says social media makes it quick and easy for scientists to communicate with a large audience.

“It makes their work more accessible and reminds them about what was really important about it in the first place,” she says.

Lizzy has practised this herself, using Twitter to share aspects of her research into how spiders adapt to city life.

“When we build cities we destroy native vegetation and drastically alter the world around us, but despite this some animals manage to thrive in urban areas,” she says.

Lizzy adds that young, enthusiastic scientists on platforms like Twitter can help increase the scientific literacy of the general public.

“It also strengthens networks between scientists – I often hear about the latest in my research field first on Twitter.”

Brittany says upcoming graduates will have jobs available to them that we can’t even imagine yet. “It’s even possible to put entrepreneurial skills to good use and become a pioneer of a new industry!”

Lizzy’s advice to students is to take any and every opportunity on offer. “This means creating networks through avenues like social media, and not being afraid to tell the world about the amazing work that scientists do,” she says.

GET INTO SCI + SOCIAL CHANGE!

Check out some work and study options…

CAREERS

Big data analyst, microbiologist, software engineer, urban planner, UX designer, water quality scientist + more!

BACHELOR of…

Science/Information Technology, QUT 

Urban, Rural and Environmental Planning, La Trobe University

Information and Communications Technology/Business, Western Sydney University

Information Technology (User Experience Design), University of Queensland

Regional and Town Planning, University of Queensland

Science (International), UNSW Australia

Environments (Engineering Systems), University of Melbourne

Commerce (Business Analytics), Deakin University

Science (Analytics), University of Technology, Sydney 

Science (Biomedical Science), Murdoch University 

Engineering (Electronic and Communication Engineering)/Science (Computer Science), Curtin University 

STEM Contributor

Author: STEM Contributor

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