Each year the ASTA and Education Perfect STEM Challenge invites teachers to submit thought-provoking questions and from these, a winning question is selected for students around Australia and New Zealand to answer.


This year, the highest scoring female student in the competition would also receive the inaugural Education Perfect Travel Award allowing them to attend Women in STEMM Australia’s National Symposium: Connecting Women in STEMM.

The theme was Drones, Droids and Robots, the competition was to “design a drone(s) ‘inspired by nature’ that will improve one or more aspects of farming efficiency.”

Rena Tang is in Year 7 at Meriden School in NSW [Image: R. Tang]
The winner of the 2016 Travel Award is Rena Tang, a student at Meriden School in NSW.

Rena submitted a drone that was inspired by the hoverfly, Eristalis tenax. The design incorporated existing technology for surveying farmland, but also had functions to pollinate and water the crops. Rena recognised the potential need for drones that are capable of pollination in response to the decline of bee colonies. The drone Rena designed was covered with solar panels, and had a charging platform for times of low sunlight. The sensors for monitoring the farm, along with photoelectric sensors, ensured the drone could avoid hazards and automatically return home when needed.

Education Perfect CEO, Craig Smith, says “We have been extremely impressed by the calibre of student responses in this years ASTA and Education Perfect STEM Challenge event. Rena was a standout, she really brought together aspects of STEM in a creative way and clearly applied herself to this task. We are pleased to partner with Women in STEMM Australia to provide her with the opportunity to attend the Connecting Women in STEMM  Symposium. Rena has a bright future ahead of her.”

STEM Challenges provide an interdisciplinary and applied approach to science technology, engineering and maths and Education Perfect said it was fantastic to see a student bringing together excellent research skills, creativity and scientific knowledge in an innovative way to come up with a solution to a real world problem. Rena’s thorough research demonstrated an excellent scientific mind, especially for a Year 7 answering a question aimed at Year 9 – 10 students. It was clear that significant effort went into this project, down to the multiple hand-drawn, coloured diagrams.

Rena tells us, “I feel very blessed to have this opportunity to go to Melbourne for the Connecting Women in STEMM Symposium! I think that this is a great experience for me, to learn more about Women in STEMM Australia and be inspired by the leading and excelling of women in science. Also, to have the chance of connecting with STEMM Leaders and Professionals would be such an honour!”

Women in STEMM Australia thanks Education Perfect for providing this opportunity and warmly congratulates Rena on winning this award. We look forward to meeting you!