Indigenous students head to space camp

SA indigenous students are getting ready to join students from the US and UK at space camp. (AAP)

South Australian indigenous students are getting ready to join students from the US and UK at space camp in Alabama.

South Australian teen Ashley Tong, 13, is thinking about becoming a lawyer or maybe Australia's first indigenous rocket scientist.

Piper Harvey, also 13, from South Australia, is thinking about becoming a policewoman, or maybe Australia's first or perhaps second indigenous rocket scientist.

They and two other indigenous students from South Australia are off to space camp, joining more than 100 students from around the world in Huntsville, Alabama, for a week of space-related activities designed to inspire the next generation of explorers, scientists, teachers and engineers.

Their travel and attendance, along with two teachers, is sponsored by defence company Northrop Grumman. This is the eighth year of space camp and the second year Australian students are attending.

Ian Irving, Northrop Grumman Australia chief executive, said this was a great investment in the future lives of these great young Australians.

"Science, engineering and mathematics are absolutely critical to the future of Australia," he said.

Ashley, a student at Woodville High, said he was chosen because he had good science grades, attended school regularly "and I never got in trouble."

"It's once in a lifetime," he said. So would he like to become a rocket scientist?

"Maybe. I actually thought of being a lawyer," he said, adding he might change his mind after space camp.

Piper Harvey, also 13, said she too was chosen because of her good grades.

"I was into rockets because I wanted to to know how they went off," she said.

So is science in her future?

Depends, she says. Her inclination is to become a police officer.

"I've always dreamed of being one and saving everyone and all that stuff," she said.

Woodville High science teacher Sam Tuffnell, long interested in the space program, is also off to Huntsville with his students.

"The opportunity to go to space camp and see the original rockets and just the ability to get my hands into that kind of science and technology environment is amazing," he said.

He said the students were fantastic kids, although a bit nervous about the travel. For one, the flight to Canberra was the first time on an aeroplane.

"They are looking forward to making friends and just the opportunity to see how science works out in the real world," he said.

The other participants are Playford International College students Kiara Tilmouth Presley and Tyson Evans and teacher Sue Elderfield. Camp starts in the US on July 24.

Source AAP

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