Feedback on Attending CONASTA 69 – 2022 in Canberra
I was extremely privileged to be given the opportunity to attend CONASTA 69 and sincerely extend my thanks to MTA and SETA, for the competition which they sponsor, to assist Science Technicians in making the trip.
CONASTA is a wonderful occasion to meet many people, from many different walks of life, all with one thing in common – a passion for Science! It was clear throughout that the organisers from ASTA worked tirelessly to coordinate the multitude of activities and people, resulting in a hugely successful conference.
The quality of presenters never failed to astound as they shared their experience and knowledge with us in a practical, informative and often humorous manner. I thoroughly enjoyed presentations on Version 9 of the Australian Curriculum; an excellent (and very funny) presentation on how to make your own Science equipment i.e. Science on a budget; a Virtual Reality experience in unlocking the Universe in 3D; learning how to make my own mini-spectrophotometer, use of mini-PCR’s to copy DNA; endless ideas exchanged at a presentation on teaching Forensics; Food and Fibre Science, to name a few.
St. Clare’s College and St Edmund’s College in Canberra were beautiful venues, that provided very adequately for all the candidates and their multiple activities.
I would like to make special mention of the exhibitors. Each stall was managed by knowledgeable people, who were so willing to share their resources and advice. Everyone provided handouts containing valuable information or links or ideas, not to mention the handy give-aways and the lollies!
The conference kicked off at SciTech in Canberra, which is the most amazing Scientific playground. Candidates were given the opportunity to explore all the exhibits and were given a discount at the shop for the evening.
Other highlights included a trip to the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex and Stromlo. We were fortunate to be there on the day that a spacecraft successfully impacted an asteroid, diverting its pathway, so that had it been heading for earth, an impact would have been diverted. This reiterated the important work they are doing, which the public are not always aware of.
Food and drink were definitely a common thread through the days and I made sure to take full advantage of what was on offer! SETA kindly sponsored my attendance to a banquet at the Pialligo Estate Winery. Here we heard a fascinating talk about the effect which living and travelling to outer space, has on the bodies of astronauts.
One of the highlights at the ASTA Awards evening, held at the Shine Dome, was an address by Australia’s Leading Scientist, Dr. Cathy Foley, in which she recognised that her attention has been drawn to the work done by Science Technicians through correspondence with SETA and that she aims to give us her full support.
In the end I faced the huge challenge of how to fit all the brochures, booklets, give ways, posters, notes etc. that I had gathered at the conference, into my suitcase, without exceeding my weight limit (not to mention the extra kilo piled on from the good food). I somehow managed with determination and perseverance and all that remains is for me to reflect on and be very grateful for an extremely worthwhile experience!