Passion can be contagious: Changing mindsets in the classroom for the better

By September 11, 2019News, Profiles

“I’ve always had a passion for science, and I know that given the right environment this passion can be contagious.”

Vivian began her In2science journey in late 2018 when her PhD supervisor told her about the program. “I discovered that In2science’s goal to build positive mindsets towards STEM subjects really resonated with me”. For Vivian, mentors not only empower high school students, but “break down negative stereotypes, such as the idea of science being ‘boring’ or ‘nerdy’”.

One way Vivian has done that in the classroom is to get her hands dirty… literally. “There have been two memorable experiences that stand out most from my placement… first where we conducted a sheep heart dissection, and the second was in my final session for the term was when I was lucky enough to be able to run my own class and give the students an ‘Introduction to Chemistry’ and show how it relates to the real world”.

In 10 short weeks Vivian has “seen a big change in the students’ mindset towards science…Even students who initially did not see a point in doing science as a school subject were able to realise that STEM has a role in each of our lives”. Like most mentors, Vivian says that the students are the best part of In2science. “Each class is different and being able to spend time with each student and talk to them about their future career goals is such a rewarding experience. It is great to see the students open up over time and be able to build trusting relationships”.

Personally, Vivian says that In2science has helped her refine her science communication skills and the ability to think on her feet, especially when asked so many challenging and insightful questions. These skills will help her in the future, as she is aiming to combine her passion for scientific research with promoting educational equity in schools. For now, Vivian is enjoying her postgraduate studies and mentoring for In2science. “I can’t wat for the next term to start,” she writes, “(and) to see if my class has continued with this positive mindset!”

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