School pupils, supported by their mentors (SUSU students and teaching staff members), are participating in the “Big Challenges” All-Russian Contest of Scientific and Technological Projects of the Sirius Educational Centre.
Three years ago, the university became a partner of the “Sirius. Summer: Start Your Project” program for supporting of talented youth. Under this program, during the summer break, school pupils must find a task for project work related to topical problems of science and technology, as well as find a mentor among students of regional universities who will help them examine it and will give support throughout the year.
The objective of the program is to involve talented young people into working on topical tasks of the Russian science and business, as well as on the technologies that are of priority for the development of regions.
“This project of the Sirius Educational Centre supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation was created to give academically motivated school pupils an opportunity to engage in project activity together with students of our country's leading universities. The project is organized on the Sirius Centre web portal. During the process of submitting applications, universities and their partners, such as scientific organisations or enterprises, compile project tasks for school pupils. Then, students choose project offers and register as mentors. At the third stage, students from all over the country participate in the program. They see which projects the universities from their region have announced and make their choice.
School pupils create their projects together with their mentors, i.e., students, under the leadership of academic staff members. They are supported by the Kurchatov Centre for the Identification, Support, and Development of Abilities and Talents among Children and Youth of the Chelyabinsk Region. Next, the projects are submitted to the “Big Challenges” All-Russian Contest. Whoever wins in it is given rights for social benefits when enrolling in a number of leading universities. During the first year, we had had only 9 mentor students, and two years ago the number increased to 30,” noted SUSU Vice-Rector for Education Marina Potapova.
One of the venues for fulfilling the school pupils’ projects at the university became the Laboratory for Computer Modelling and 3D Prototyping, included in Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) and opened at the Department of Machines and Processes of Pressure Metal Working. Under the guidance of the Department's lecturer Oleg Siverin and mentor students, school pupils learned about the basics of engineering work and conducted individual projects, the best of which were presented at the “Big Challenges” contest.
“The best students of the Institute of Engineering and Technology supervise several projects by school pupils, who, within the framework of the federal educational project supported by the President of the Russian Federation, solve real production tasks in breakthrough fields of science,” noted Oleg Siverin. “The goal of mentors is to help school pupils understand that they can become high-class engineers, researchers and scientists, and not to make a mistake when choosing a university or specialty. This year, our university has performed brilliantly. Our laboratory alone prepared 10 original prototypes of automated devices in various industries. And it's not like I'm bragging, but our students prepared almost twenty percent of the winning projects in the region in four breakthrough technical areas, such as Advanced Manufacturing Technologies: Unmanned Vehicles and Logistics Systems; Smart City and Neural-like- and Biotechnologies.”
Several projects were presented at the contest. As a result, a number of participants, who were guided by SUSU, are to represent our region at the final stage of the contest. This could not be achieved without the SUSU FabLab, where one cannot only simulate or calculate something, but can also create a working prototype.
The specific feature of working under the “Sirius. Summer” projects at SUSU is not only the opportunity to use cutting-edge engineering programs and equipment, but also the fact that students share real knowledge, and school pupils can understand in practice to which extent these skills will be of use to them.
According to the participants of the “Sirius. Summer”, the point is not so much in new knowledge, but also in the ability to join the team of a non-standard project. When everyone does their part of the work and it all works out well, the whole endeavour becomes a success.
Over the years since the project has been functioning, the SUSU laboratory has proven itself in successfully training both winners and laureates. Thanks to its reputation, it is not difficult to find those who want to take part in projects. And this also allows to attract new promising applicants to the university, because having worked in university laboratories, having understood how students are taught here, they consider SUSU as a place for mastering their future profession. This year, as many as two participants of the last year’s project, Mikhail Mayorov and Nikita Pushkarev, submitted their applications for enrolling in the SUSU Institute of Engineering and Technology. Mikhail is now not only studying at the university, but is also participating in the work of the laboratory as a mentor.
Students can work on anything they like: from an unmanned vehicle capable of finding a lost person in hard-to-reach terrain, to an installation designed for cleaning ponds from garbage.
The project continues, so the Laboratory for Computer Modelling and 3D Prototyping under the leadership of Oleg Siverin invites talented young researchers and future engineers to show their skills this year.
This year, under the guidance of the SUSU mentors Egor Alekseev, Egor Yakunkov, Aleksei Kutergin and Mikhail Mayorov, who worked with the best engineer school pupils of our region, as many as 10 unique prototypes of mechanisms have been created. At the All-Russian “Big Challenges”, our participants were awarded 19% of all prizes.
The Rector of South Ural State University Alexander Wagner highly praised the work of students.