Student at Macquarie University
Coming from the Western Suburbs, and a low socio-economic school, my aspirational level was not very high; it was a case of finishing high school and then that's about it. Before being involved in LEAP Robotics I didn't have any real plans for my future. It was more of a case of "I'll see what happens when I'm done". There was no long term goal or even a short term goal apart from completing the School Certificate.
The program also helped me academically by encouraging me to study harder and reach higher for what I want to do. Being a part of this program and then staying on in this program is giving me further skills to progress to achieve something I want to do without holding me back.
It has also helped boost my confidence and interactivity with other people, I've found a real passion for sharing my knowledge with students and seeing the inspiration they have when they learn something. It has definitely opened up a lot of doors for me. My big dream is to go and live on Mars, and I am in the process of getting there.
At high school, in particular, I didn't have that many close friends and coming into a program like this you already know there's a lot of likeminded people involved and you instantly just click with them. I still retain a lot of my friendships from back then to this day and I thank the engagement aspect of the program for that.
In ten years' time I will hopefully be sitting on a lawn chair on the surface of Mars. If not, I hope to still be involved in a program either directly linked to LEAP or very similar to LEAP to help spread this type of program to every school in Australia. To allow every student the opportunity to attend higher education; even if a kid doesn't want to attend university, every person should have the opportunity if they want it.
Luan Heimlick - LEAP Robotics Program Coordinator
Jake began with LEAP Robotics a few years ago and I think it's one of the things that has really changed his life.
I think Jake had a fairly hard time in high school, it was a difficult place to be, but LEAP Robotics gave him a reason to continue going to high school and allowed him to excel and make a difference in a way that never would have happened without the program.
A lot of the conversations I have with Jake revolve around his future and about what he needs to do now in order to become the kind of person he wants to be and have the future that he wants. Being a part of LEAP Robotics has helped us have those conversations. Jake's impressions of higher education have definitely changed as a result of this program. He had never been on a university campus before and now he's not only on campus, he's a second year student here and doing amazingly well.
Jake has changed from a student who came from a place that probably wasn't so good and now he has aspirations that go through the roof! He wants to go to Mars, to change people's lives, to inspire the younger generation and I think that all of that stemmed from his involvement in the LEAP Robotics program.
No matter what Jake is doing in ten years' time, I know he will be giving back. That's what we are trying to do, teach these students to be passionate enough that they want to give back to the younger generation. If we can do that then the programs we run today become never ending, and the number of kids we can impact becomes infinite.