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Old Ways, New Ways

ECU's award-winning Old Ways, New Ways programme inspires Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students to study science, bringing together Nyoongar and Western scientific knowledge and perspectives.

Since 2014, the programme has visited a number of primary schools and high schools across Western Australia and the Northern Territory, including those in regional and remote areas.

The initiative has seen more than 1000 students engage with hands-on science activities.

The programme aims to increase students’ confidence in their ability to study science at tertiary level and induce a sense of pride in students by:

  1. engaging Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students in science and technology-based learning through hands on activities that involve peer supported learning (students teaching students) that enhance confidence and leadership and presentation skills and through activities that teach basic scientific concepts;
  2. providing and promoting role models and mentors particularly Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander scientists, science researchers, active community organisations and academics, who can highlight education pathways and science career opportunities; and
  3. providing training and teaching resources and promoting cultural competence in the area of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander engagement that facilitate the integration of Indigenous Knowledge Systems into the teaching of science, that are locally relevant and specific.

The main achievement of the OWNW outreach program is a significant shift in attitude of participating students towards considering studying and/or working in science in the future. The OWNW team is comprised of Jason Barrow and Caroline Bishop (Kurongkurl Katitjin) and Dr Kristina Lemson and Dr Magdalena Wajrak (School of Science).

In 2017, Old Ways, New Ways was a finalist in the Premier’s Science Awards , in the Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year category.

Old Ways, New Ways is supported by ECU’s School of Science and Kurongkurl Katitjin. If you’re interested in getting involved with our programs, please contact us at

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