On Thursday 13 September 2018, In2science will host a free forum on industry-school partnerships in STEM education. We invite you to join us to hear from leaders in industry, education and government, and to share your ideas and experiences.
In this article, we explore the emergence of such partnerships as a priority in STEM education policy and the benefits that they can provide to schools, students and industry alike. Read More
More Victorian secondary school students from regional and rural backgrounds are reaping the benefits of connecting with university student eMentors as In2science expands its reach and forges new partnerships with regional schools. Through weekly online interactions, students who would otherwise be disadvantaged by geographical isolation or limited access to resources, discover their love of science and maths.
The Victorian Department of Education and Training recently featured the transformative experience of In2science eMentees from regional partner school Maffra Secondary College in its Stories from the Education State series. “Student mentoring takes education to the next level” emphasised how programs like In2science utilise funding from the Department to ensure that Victoria remains the Education State. Maffra SC student, Charlotte was effusive in her praise for the program, “The In2science program has been an amazing help for me in and outside of school, and I would encourage anyone who loves STEM to try it and see what it can offer.”
Robyn Gamble, In2science eMentoring Coordinator, recently had the pleasure of meeting with staff and students at some of our new regional partner schools. In a jam-packed itinerary, Robyn presented a Partner School certificate to an eMentoring student from Catholic College Wodonga, as well a Partner School Certificate to the students and staff at Sacred Heart College in Yarrawonga, where Principal Lew Nagle sang the praises of In2science, delineating the opportunities the program provides their students to ignite their passion for STEM, thereby inspiring them to pursue a STEM-based career. A short drive down the highway and Robyn was warmly welcomed by Tiffany Chandler, from one of In2science’s newest partner schools, Notre Dame College in Shepparton. With its combination of passionate teachers, outstanding new science facilities, and the new In2science partnership, it is evident that Notre Dame College students are afforded every opportunity to explore science and the rewarding STEM-based careers that can follow.
Interested in hosting a mentor? Click here!
Semester 1, 2018 saw 129 In2science mentors from La Trobe University, RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology and The University of Melbourne continue the proud In2science tradition of inspiring secondary school students to continue studying STEM subjects and aspire to STEM-based careers.
In doing so, In2science mentors volunteered a total of 1169 hours to help 1780 high school students across 39 partner schools.
Consistent with past appraisals, feedback from students, teachers and mentors reflected the overwhelmingly positive impact the program has on all who participate.
“He showed us different parts of what part science plays in everyday life. It helped me to understand where science hides even if you don’t know it’s there.” – Yr 8 student, Rowville SC
“Lachlan was amazing with the students. He had an ability to quickly build rapport with students, share life experience, share tertiary knowledge and engage all at the same time. Lachlan helped all students in the class, and helped build curiosity in science.” – Teacher, Templestowe College
The majority of teachers (88%) noticed that certain students engaged more in the lesson when a mentor was present, while the same percentage also agreed that the mentor was a good role model for the students, sharing their passion, experience and knowledge of STEM career pathways. Furthermore, by hosting a mentor, 75% of teachers gained the capacity to undertake additional activities in the classroom, while 78% noted that the mentor contributed specialised subject knowledge and real-life examples. This positive teacher feedback is a testament to the high calibre of the mentors recruited to participate in the program.
“Bastien showed great initiative and was very proactive in assisting students and extending them beyond what I had planned, which was fantastic.” – Teacher, Glenroy SC
Indeed, the benefits of the program extend beyond the positive impacts experienced by students and teachers, as mentors also enjoy opportunities to accrue the ‘soft skills’ that will ensure they stand out in an ever more competitive employment market. Amongst mentors, 98% agreed that their participation in In2science enabled development of skills they will use in the future.
“This was one of the best experiences of my uni degree thus far! Can’t wait to do it again next semester.” – Lily Martin, Swinburne University of Technology student and mentor at Auburn High School
Most importantly, this semester saw the In2science program continue to achieve its aims of increasing student engagement in STEM and building students’ aspirations for STEM-based careers. These outcomes were especially strong for those students who mentors were able to work closely with over the course of the semester.
By Annabel Khamly
The mentors at In2science share the common traits of studying in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and having a passion for the scientific world. Other than this, mentors differ from one another immensely.
Each student has a different motivation for applying for In2science. Often, mentors hope to inspire youth by sharing their love for STEM, or some want to voice their diverse journeys to tertiary education. Many have had volunteering experience before and want to continue, and others are seeking opportunities to give back to the community.
In2science also aims to help the mentors in their professional development, giving them a platform to improve their communication, time-management and interpersonal skills. This reciprocation of benefits is what makes In2science such a great experience for both mentor and mentee.
Take a look at some of the 2018 mentors’ thoughts in the video above!
Annabel made this video during her internship with In2science, as part of her Bachelor of Science degree at The University of Melbourne. Congratulations Annabel and all the best for your future endeavours!
Want to become an In2science mentor? Click here!
In recognition of its ongoing commitment to supporting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in Victoria, In2science was recently awarded funding from the Victorian Government. Bestowed by The Department of Education and Training (DET), this funding will ensure that this innovative and award-winning program can continue to place university STEM student volunteers into secondary schools to increase engagement, boost enthusiasm and build STEM career aspirations.
For nearly 14 years, In2science has fostered fruitful partnerships between disadvantaged and low SES schools, or regional students disadvantaged by distance, and its partner universities – La Trobe University, RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology and The University of Melbourne. In doing so, tens of thousands of students have reaped the rewards of interacting with passionate, engaging and enthusiastic STEM university students.
The funding builds the capacity of In2science to work more effectively with students. The program will also expand its reach to include maths and science classes from year 7 all the way through to year 10 in our partner schools. Students who directly engage with mentors develop confidence in their maths and science abilities. Many also consider pursuing a career in STEM fields after these interactions.
“Our STEM mentors build communication skills, interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills and time management – all very important things for future STEM careers”
– Megan Mundy, In2science Program Director
Enthralled In2science mentors, alumni and their fellow STEM students engaged with STEM industry graduates and professionals at our recent Career Speed Networking workshop to gain inside knowledge and advice about kick-starting their #In2scienceSTEMcareers.
In2science Director, Megan Mundy, commenced proceedings with an acknowledgement of country, followed by a brief overview of the In2science Program and finally, directed a special welcome to our guests and mentors. Alistair Grevis-James, Business Systems Analyst at CSL, then provided some insight into the benefits he reaped as an In2science mentor, and how these helped him attain a rewarding and exciting role in a global biotech company. After some housekeeping announcements, a hush descended as the students and industry professionals apprehensively took their places at their assigned station.
The energy in the room was palpable as our guests imparted their wisdom, stoked some fervent discussions, and further invigorated this passionate group of budding STEM enthusiasts to pursue a rewarding career in the STEM disciplines.
“The students were very engaged; there were some great questions” – Kathryn Sobey, Head of Science, Auburn High School
In2science mentor, Yubeih He, from the University of Melbourne was equally impressed with our esteemed panel of professionals, “I met with some fantastic people from industry and received great advice”. Similarly, Anish Ramkhelawon from the University of Melbourne observed, “I really appreciated the practical advice and now feel more relaxed about the interview process”.
The small group chats facilitated maximum exposure to a diverse range of STEM professionals and graduates in a relaxed and informal setting. Many took the opportunity to pursue further discussions after the formal proceedings while they enjoyed some refreshments.
Some students and In2science mentors also availed themselves of the opportunity to have their resumes appraised by David Azzopardi (Senior Manager of Talent Development at CSL Behring), Waheed Rashid (Program Manager at Ericsson AU) and Vanessa Ashokkumar (Customer Project Manager, Ericsson); the In2science Team sincerely thank them for providing this valuable service.
With new contacts made and enthusiasm ignited, the event was reluctantly drawn to a close.
In2science gratefully acknowledges the Selby Scientific Foundation, whose generous support enabled us to run this event. In2science also extends our heartfelt thanks to all who participated, and particularly our inspirational guests:
- Rachel Johnston – Technical Director, BP
- Eliza Tipping Smith – Operations Analyst, BP
- Sally Lowenstein – Science Communicator, Bureau of Meteorology
- Kathryn Sobey – Head of Science, Auburn High School
- Sarah Longhurst – Consultant, Deloitte
- David Azzopardi – Senior Manager of Talent Development, CSL Behring
- Alistair Grevis-James – Business Systems Analyst, CSL
- Tiarne Ecker – Biodiversity Science Graduate, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research
- Jaydene Pearson – Graduate Engineer, Lendlease
- Waheed Rashid – Program Director, Ericsson Australia
- Vanessa Ashokkummar – Customer Project Manager, Ericsson Australia
“There are no limits on what a STEM graduate can do, and we shouldn’t impose them.”
– Dr Alan Finkel AO, Australia’s Chief Scientist and In2science Patron
In the lead-up to the In2science STEM Career Speed Networking event, we reflect on the need for STEM skills for all careers.
Australia’s STEM workforce is growing, and studies show that STEM skills are relevant to an increasingly wide range of occupations. Graduates from degrees in science, engineering and mathematics are contributing to an innovative Australian economy in many different ways.
For current STEM university students, an ocean of opportunity awaits beyond graduation. Graduates from STEM degrees go on to be business owners, science communicators, engineers, consultants, educators, policy advisors and much more. Encouraging the emerging STEM workforce to seek out diverse occupations is one reason why the biological, physical and mathematical sciences directly underpin 14% of Australia’s economy. “No clever country would encourage its most STEM-literate people to pursue only traditional research paths, in universities or public sector research agencies”, says Dr Finkel.
“Early-career jobs that included ‘problem solving’ in the job description attracted salaries with an extra $7,745 compared to other early-career jobs.” – Foundation for Young Australians
Future workplaces will rely more on problem solving, independent learning, analytical thinking and communication skills than ever before. Today’s STEM graduates will use their technical knowledge in combination with ‘enterprise’ skills, skills that foster innovation and collaboration.
In2science is committed to supporting the next generation of innovative STEM workers. Current university students are already developing their communication and teamwork skills through In2science mentoring. Working with high school science and maths students across Melbourne, In2science mentors think creatively, collaborate with teachers and adapt to new situations every time they step into the classroom.
In 2018, In2science is also facilitating networking between In2science mentors and professionals working in a range of STEM-related workplaces. At the In2science Career Speed Networking event on 17th May, mentors will have the chance to talk with recent STEM graduates, In2science alumni and experienced industry professionals about career pathways, job applications and how to develop crucial enterprise skills that many employers now require.
The Speed Career Networking event is another way In2science mentors are gaining valuable employability skills while still at University. Our thanks go to the Selby Scientific Foundation for renewing their support for our mentor development program.
Current and past In2science mentors and other University students can register for the Speed Career Networking event here.
Meet Alison and Emilly – identical twin sisters studying science at The University of Melbourne. Alison is majoring in Human Structure and Function and Emilly is focusing on Neuroscience. They are passionate about STEM, keen to inspire the next generation of students and are part of this year’s cohort of In2science eMentors.
Emilly is not new to In2science – she volunteered last year for the eMentoring program with a student from Maffra Secondary College, a regional school located in Gippsland. Emilly was surprised by the differences that arise from having a regional education experience: a much smaller cohort and more travel time to Melbourne to access field trips and resources. When subjects were not available through the school they were completed via distance education – a very different experience to education in metropolitan Melbourne.
Emilly really enjoyed engaging with her student, talking about STEM concepts in the news or classroom, as well as talking about future STEM study and explaining misconceptions about university life.
This year Emilly is returning to eMentoring with her sister Alison. Both Emilly and Alison wanted to get more involved at university and in the wider community so being able to mentor students and talk about their enthusiasm for STEM seemed like a great opportunity to volunteer and create some positive change in the community.
This semester, they will both be mentoring students from Maffra Secondary College.They are looking forward to sharing their passion for STEM and encouraging their students in their current and future STEM studies.
In2science has been awarded a Student Mentoring Program grant as part of a $1 million commitment from the Victorian Government. The grant is to develop new or existing mentoring programs for students from disadvantaged backgrounds; with the aim to promote school connectedness, engagement and aspirations for disadvantaged children and young people.
The eMentoring program inspires, motivates and mentors regional and rural students’ interested in STEM skills and opportunities beyond year 12. Mentors and school students meet digitally once a week for 30-40 minutes over a 10 week block and discuss their common interests in science and mathematics, share their study experiences, and explore opportunities for pursuing science and mathematics at university and beyond.
– Yvette – In2science eMentor at The University of Melbourne
– Vineeta – In2science eMentor at RMIT University
The innovative online platform, specifically designed for the In2science program, connects secondary students across regional Victoria with volunteer eMentors studying STEM at university.
eMentoring was piloted by In2science in 2016 and launched in 2017. Each year the program goes from strength to strength with new schools joining. Currently In2science has partnerships with 19 regional and rural schools across Victoria.
This year is shaping up to be something special. Andrew McKenzie-McHarg, a teacher from a new 2018 partner school (Catholic College Wodonga), has said: “I have been in contact with all our assigned mentors…. what an absolutely fabulous bunch they appear to be. This program is shaping up to be one of the highlights of the year!! So very excited!”
– Bill Simmalavong – Teacher at Distance Education Center Victoria