It may have only been our second year at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, but the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) stall has obviously made a big impact on the public.
Last year CMRI won an award for its first ever stall at the Show which aims to encourage children to consider a career in science while educating parents about the value of investing in reserach.
People were surprised to see the Jeans for Genes signs, the free science activities for children, experiments by scientists and the ability to talk to researchers in-person about their work.
This year the word had spread and people dropped by because they had heard all about it! Channel 10 News visited to do a story on the Luks and how all five family members, including young Maddy and Briella who have a genetic condition, decided to volunteer.
We also had a piece on the Sydney Royal Easter Show radio station and a great recommendation by parenting website Ella’s List who had our stall in their top picks. Many social media influencers were spotted chatting about our stall online, telling all their followers to take the kids down and learn more about science.
In the end, we had thousands of children become “Scientists for a Day’’, wearing a lab coat and getting a special certificate.
Dozens of scientists from CMRI gave up their time to meet the public. Steve Williams, who works in the proteomics team, said it was great to talk to people about medical research.
“It is always nice to get kids enthusiastic about science, and opportunities like this don’t happen enough because, inspiring people to become scientists is such a vital part of the future.’’
Researcher Daniel Bucio-Noble described it as a “gratifying experience’’.
“The fact that CMRI participates in the Easter Show helps a lot in communicating the research we do in the Institute.’’
Clare Loudon from the ProCan Cancer Pathology Group said many people wanted to share their stories of knowing someone with cancer.
“Everyone who came to the stall knew Jeans for Genes but they didn’t know as much about CMRI so it was good to be able to talk to them about what we do,’’ she said.
Jennifer Koh from ProCan enjoyed inspiring the next generation.
“It was also so cute to hear the children say that they wanted to be a scientist when they grow up.’’
ProCan Operations Manager Edith Hurt said she enjoyed hearing children’s aspirations.
“Is there anything more inspiring than a small child in a white coat and googles telling you earnestly that they want to study the cosmos!?’’
Some of the dedicated volunteers to turn up (besides our hard-working scientists) included Ms Charity Australia Chantelle O’Donohoe who did multiple shifts, the team from Sage who are allocated days to do charitable work, staff from Stanford Brown, Linden Electric and the Bank of New York.
Finally, a special mention to toy manufacturers Treasure X who donated hundreds of their fabulous product for our science showbag.