Design, video production, sustainability in science, nursing and robot building are all in a day's work for about 150 year 11 students, including 10 Indigenous students, taking part in the 2012 UTS summer schools.
The UTS Make it Real Summer Schools program is now in its fourth year, running over two weeks during the January school holidays.
The program is for students from priority schools who may have never considered university study as a real option after finishing high school. Participants are mentored by UTS students who have a passion for sharing the university experience and may themselves have been the first in their family to study at university.
The five summer schools are:
- Real Creativity, Real Design
- Making it sustainable: Real Science
- Make a Real Robot
- Making it Reel: Making Films
- Make a Real Difference: Nursing
UTS Student Equity Manager Ruth Thompson said the Make it Real Summer Schools become more popular every year and have been expanded to include design and nursing and midwifery.
"These programs really give participants an experience of what it is like to study at University. It helps remove any fears or intimidation they may feel about coming here," Ms Thompson said.
"Many students go back to their friends and peers with positive stories of the experiences they had at UTS. It may mean the difference to some students going to university or not.
"We also know from feedback from schools that the UTS initiative has increased the confidence and ambition of many of the participants and this shows in their studies and new aspiration to go to university."
That's certainly true of Taminya Brown from Chester Hill High School who was ready to drop out of school and look for a job in the beauty field.
She said taking part in the nursing and midwifery activities had completely changed her mind.
"My sister has just started studying nursing and now I think that's what I want to do – being around people and helping people and babies."
For Sabran Farah of Wiley Park Girls High School, the Real Design summer school was a chance to get an early look at university study and university life.
Sabran said university was certainly on her agenda, but she'd been thinking more along the lines of psychology.
"It's been great to work as a creative team with people from all over Sydney. Never a dull moment!"