COVID passports and a national plan for engaging tertiary STEM students – just two of the real-world challenges Macquarie students helped find solutions for at the Univative event held during the mid-year session break.
84 Macquarie students participated in this inter-university competition that challenges teams of students from different disciplines to develop solutions to genuine problems posed by industry partners.
Macquarie hosted the event for the second year in a row, with eight universities and over 390 students participating. Macquarie was successful in winning 12 out of 17 industry projects – an amazing result.
“Univative is a fantastic program that has exponentially increased and supplemented my networking and group project skills,” says Macquarie Bachelor of Arts student Nikhil Khare.
Working in teams, students from across Macquarie worked with a wide range of industry partners to solve real-world problems. These included Amazon Web Services, Dell, HCL Tech in cooperation with Water NSW, Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI), SCARF Refugee Support, Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, Sunrice and Salvation Army, ACCA, AcademyGlobal, ABC, Australian National Maritime Museum, Leor, Pexip, the School Magazine, Veriu Group and VMware.
Among the challenges the students needed to solve were to create a COVID passport for students returning to Australia (for Amazon) and to design a strategy to engage university STEM students across Australia to increase brand awareness and uptake membership (for the RACI).
“Our diversity meant that we often came up with different solutions and ideas, enabling us to consider issues from various perspectives and standpoints,” says Bachelor of Commerce / Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) student Tiffany Wong, who was part of a winning Macquarie team working on the ABC’s project. “Our different interests and studies were also beneficial as we were able to divide work up based on individual’s strengths but also to learn from each other.”
Justine McKenna, a Career Development Consultant in Learning and Teaching, was part of the Univative leadership team. She says the positive outcomes for participants are immense.
“Students can, in a relatively short but intense period of time, learn to effectively solve industry problems and communicate their recommendations to a range of stakeholders,” Justine says. “I love watching how much each student grows both personally and professionally throughout the program.
“Some of the partners involved have already commenced discussions around offering employment, internships, and mentoring opportunities for some of the students who participated.”
The Career Development Consultants team provide comprehensive support to Macquarie staff to enhance student employability.