Fatima Baghdadi, Blake Hupalo, and Nathan Commens - Trio Take Career Initiative

Trio Take Career Initiative

Written by Journalist, Angela Norval - Bundaberg Today, Friday June 24, 2022

St Luke’s Anglican School students Blake Hupalo, Fatima Baghdadi and Nathan Commens have shown that a real passion for technology and a commitment to their future makes all the difference.

These students will be representing St Luke’s at the upcoming QUT STEM Summit in Brisbane.

These students stood out from hundreds of other students from throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales for the summit which is held over four days in the September school holidays.

QUT’s STEM high school engagement has been running since 2013 and is committed to inspiring the next generation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics leaders, providing meaningful STEM experiences for year seven to 12 students.

Head of senior school Robyn Deer has congratulated the students saying “we have had a long-standing tradition of students attending the QUT STEM Summit and many of them have gone on to do great things in the worlds of science and dngineering.

“I know these students will get a great many skills over these four days and meet up with like-minded peers.”

St Luke’s Anglican School director of academic welfare and careers Kane Kersnovske said with the future of employment changing rapidly, predictions have shown that 75 per cent of the fastest-growing occupations required STEM-based technological skills.

“Therefore, this program creates opportunities for high school students to build enthusiasm for these STEM skills while drawing from the concepts of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship,” he said.

“We are proud that Blake, Fatima and Nathan’s applications and school grades stood out enough for them to be chosen for the QUT STEM Summit, especially given the amount of other students that applied and they will be open to four days focused on career opportunities and jobs of the future.”

  • The QUT STEM Summit 2022 will allow students to:
  • Experience subjects and careers through internships.
  • Try out different fields of research.
  • Attend talks and presentations from QUT Alumni.
  • Participate in workshops.
  • Meet people doing same or similar degrees.
  • Narrow down selections for young people.
  • Attend industry site visits.

This event will even include the technology jobs boom that the 2032 Olympics is set to bring to Brisbane and Queensland.

QUT STEM high school engagement program manager Simone Long said the summit traditionally attracted high achievers who were smart, motivated and already had an interest in STEM.

“It’s a fun week that gives senior school students a chance to mix with researchers and university students – and also hear from industry experts who visit QUT for the event to share their knowledge,” she said.

“It really does give them a taste of STEM technical skills and professional skills and experiences that will amplify their job prospects in the future.

“We also find that it can help students clarify the areas they are really interested in going on to pursue at university and during their careers.

“The school students will take part in three major interactive sessions that will unpack the importance of a STEM mindset, with the help of industry speakers, and look at future job opportunities. “This next decade will see

Queensland transformed for the Olympic Games, with a wide cross-section of commercial sectors benefiting and the creation of new jobs across all sectors – none more so than the STEM industries,” Ms Long said.

Fatima Steps up for the Challenges of the Summit

Well spoken and clearly very intelligent, St Luke’s Anglican School year 12 student Fatima Baghdadi is showing that mathematics and engineering are not just subjects for the boys, as an integral member of the team representing the school at the QUT STEM Summit 2022.

Since being at St Luke’s from year eight, Fatima has been appreciated by the teachers for her bright, happy and confident personality that helps to make other students feel welcomed and inspired.

While Fatima excels in most subjects, she clearly is gifted in mathematics and science which will mean the summit is a place for her to advance her skills and learn new ones.

Describing maths as fun, Fatima said she has a particular passion for maths and chemistry, constantly enjoying being able to challenge both herself and her peers in these subjects.

“The beauty of subjects like maths and chemistry is that you can see a direct result of your work and you can continue to achieve more and conquer more problems,” she said.

“I was proud to recently be a part of the Maths Team Challenges representing St Luke’s Anglican School and my team came second up against some tough competition.

“My driving force is being able to help people however I can and that can be through solving some of the world’s largest problems with new technologies which I hope to invent.

“Ideas that come to mind include solving the world’s microplastics problem or creating new technology to provide clean water in countries that have a clean water crisis.”

Until then, Fatima’s post school plans include pursuing a chemical engineering and/ or mathematics degree, with a strong desire to work for NASA.

Allrounder Loves Learning 

Nathan Commens is known as a fabulous allrounder at St Luke’s Anglican School.

Continuing to achieve academically, Nathan also plays volleyball and sings in the choir.

So, it was only natural, considering his future focus and considerable grades, that Nathan was one of the students chosen for the QUT STEMS Summit 2022.

St Luke’s Anglican School director of academic welfare and careers Kane Kersnovske said Nathan had been an integral member of St Luke’s Anglican School since joining in preprep.

“Nathan has a clear passion for learning, but also likes to step up in other areas of school life to make a difference,” he said.

“This includes being a member of the St Luke’s Interact Club which works to raise funds for charities and the community, providing a valuable service for the school and the community simply because it is something that he values.

“Nathan has also completed his Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award at the end of last year and spent some time aboard the sailing training ship South Passage.

“In his time at St Luke’s, Nathan has shown both myself and his teachers throughout the years that he has a natural talent while still a clear passion for mathematics and business, meaning that the Summit will provide a wealth of information and skills he can use in his future studies.”

At last year’s awards evening Nathan was presented with the Long Tan Leadership and Teamwork Award which recognises a student with outstanding leadership and teamwork qualities both in the school and wider community.

Looking to the future, Nathan is clear in what direction he wants to take, hoping to attending University Queensland to study a business, economics or law degree, and he has the skills to do just that.

After university he hopes to work overseas in Europe in a financial advisor position, seeing the world while maintaining his passion for mathematics and business.

Before then, Nathan has said he hopes to meet other students at the summit who share his passion for mathematics, and to experience university life.

Nathan’s personality and flair for innovation are sure to allow him to make the most of this opportunity.

“I will be able to talk with, and meet successful individuals and entrepreneurs in STEM fields to possibly open up future career opportunities,” he said.

Summit Adds to Blake's Future Options

“The teachers are great and they are really passionate about what they do.”

These are the words of year 12 student Blake Hupalo and it is this passion that has helped Blake continue to achieve as well as he does, a students of St Luke’s Anglican School since year eight.

Blake is one of only three students attending this year’s QUT STEM Summit 2022 in Brisbane and if his day-to-day enthusiasm shared at school is anything to go on, his teachers believe he will make the most of every second of this event.

With a clear love of learning, Blake doesn’t waste a second of his school life and is always happy to share his passion and commitment with others.

This was most recently showcased at the St Luke’s Science Fair where he created a facial recognition turret with the machine coded to view faces and if they were not Blake to shoot them with a foam dart, much to the amazement and amusement of visitors.

During his time at St Luke’s, some of his other achievements have included converting regular video from his webcam to Ascii Text, coding an inverse kinematics algorithm design video and coding a sphere tracing video, which is the technique for rendering surfaces using geometric distances.

At its most applicable and understood level, it’s where rendering lives for video games and physics engines.

St Luke’s Anglican School director of academic welfare and careers Kane Kersnovske said Blake’s coding and machine learning skills were nothing short of incredible.

“Blake has mentioned a number of times that he loves analogy and the comparison of a computer to the human brain and sometimes the knowledge and skill that he shows with his own brain even keeps some of our most gifted teachers speechless,” he said.

“Given that he is studying specialist mathematics as well as mathematical methods and achieving top marks in both just shows that he will be able to get so much from the summit that is of interest to him and beneficial towards his future.”

While Blake hasn’t nailed down exactly what direct he would like to take with his studies next year, he is looking at a number of possibilities including a Computer Science/ Mathematics Double Degree at QUT, majoring in Machine Learning.

“Whatever direction Blake’s career takes, we know in the future we will be reading about him in the news, solving problems that haven’t been solved yet, working at the forefront of machine learning and AI innovation.”