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VU helps boost school science in Melbourne's west

Victoria University will strengthen its commitment to educating budding scientists in Melbourne's west with a $100,000 equipment donation made in partnership with Shimadzu Scientific Instruments to Hoppers Crossing Secondary College's new Science Centre.

The Science Centre will be opened on Friday 1 July at 1.30pm by Lalor MP and Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard under the Federal Government's Building Education Revolution Fund.

The $2 million science centre will feature state-of-the-art instruments and equipment to inspire and challenge students in science-based subjects. It will be available for schools across the west with a science curriculum centred on forensics, water conservation, food technology and nano-technology.

Victoria University's School Engineering and Science has sponsored three key pieces of equipment: an atomic absorption spectrophotometer to analyse metals; a liquid chromatograph for separating and analysing mixtures; and an ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer to analyse samples with light absorption.

Dr Domenico Caridi of VU's Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science said the University will support the Centre in additional ways such as devising experiments to support curriculum, and placing VU science and teaching students in learning-in-the-workplace roles at the centre.

"Science is an exciting career and it's critical to give school students opportunities to engage and have access to the right facilities to inspire them and extend their understanding," he said. 

VU's own $1 million science lab at its Werribee Campus, which opened in partnership with Shimadzu in 2008, is already used by secondary school students as well as VU students, teachers, and researchers. There, school students from across Melbourne learn science first-hand through programs such as "Be a Chemist for a Day" for Years 9 and 10 students, and VCE "Chem Pracs." In addition, VU and Shimadzu awarded spectrophotometers to each of 12 schools in 2008 which have proved popular with the region's next generation of scientists.  

Dr Caridi is available for interview on 0411 236 544.

What: Opening of Science Centre at Hoppers Crossing Secondary College
Who: Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Anne Jones, Victoria University: Julia Gillard, Prime Minister; Wayne Terrill, Principal, Hoppers Crossing Secondary College; John Hewetson, Shimadzu Scientific Instruments
When: Friday 1 July - 1.30pm - 2.30pm 
Where: Hoppers Crossing Secondary College, 2 Fraser St, Hoppers Crossing

Media Contact:
nn Marie Angebrandt, Media Officer,
arketing and Communications Department, Victoria University
h: (03) 9919 5487 or 0403 556 001.

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