Increasing student engagement, confidence, and aspirations in STEM since 2004


Partner universities


Partner schools in 2023


School students since 2004


Mentor placements in 2023

I see a world of opportunity for Australians with STEM training… Our best future is a future that builds on technology, innovation, ideas and imagination. It is a future with STEM.” 

–  Dr Alan Finkel AO (Australia’s Chief Scientist 2016-2020; In2science Patron)

A STEM future: our students’ future

STEM empowerment: our priority

The proportion of jobs relying on science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) is projected to significantly increase over the next decade. This will provide incredible opportunities for rewarding employment to young Australians who have benefited from STEM education and training.1

Yet student attitudes towards science and maths deteriorate sharply between Years 6-9, student achievement in these subjects is in decline, and the proportion of Australian high school students choosing to study senior science and maths subjects at Year 12 is at an alarming low.2

To empower our students to navigate the opportunities and demands of their STEM-based future, we need to nurture their aspirations for developing STEM capabilities. We need to inspire in students the belief that the increasing importance of studying STEM is an opportunity to aspire to, not an obstacle to avoid.

In2science Peer Mentoring

Building STEM aspirations

We use the power of mentoring relationships to improve secondary students’ enthusiasm for science and maths, to increase student engagement, and to build aspirations for further STEM study.

Role models and mentors are critically important to increasing student participation and engagement in STEM: breaking down negative stereotypes, forming positive associations with students’ sense of personal identity (the idea that science and maths are “for me”), and giving students a tangible and relatable understanding of real-world applications, study pathways and careers.3 In short, they are vital to making STEM disciplines more interesting, relevant, and important to high school students.

By acting as learning coaches, mentors can also help to build student self-confidence in STEM disciplines and foster growth mindsetsWhen student attitudes towards science and maths are positive, then their levels of achievement can also continue to increase.4

In2science is so important for Australia because we simply don’t have enough people taking up science, technology, engineering or maths at high school and beyond.” 

–  The Hon Prof John Brumby AO (former Premier of Victoria; In2science Chair)

Our Impact

Several external evaluations of the program demonstrate the positive impact on each group of participants.

On School Students

An independent evaluation of the In2science program by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER 2017) showed that In2science mentors increase student confidence and self-efficacy in STEM.

The program equally boosts student engagement in science and mathematics, including students’ awareness of real-world applications of class content and the connections to future careers.

“The mentor instilled something in the students that is very rare and hard to achieve in a secondary college,
intrinsic motivation.”

Teacher, Maffra Secondary College

Case study: Watch the video

“The kids became more engaged, more interested in science and wanting to learn!”
– Teacher, Copperfield College

“Gwenda was absolutely brilliant. An unassuming, helpful, enthusiastic, empathetic addition to the classroom. The young women in the class were particularly enamored by this engineering student.”
– Teacher, Auburn High School

On Schools & Teachers

The 2017 ACER evaluation affirmed that In2science provides a valuable resource for science and mathematics teachers, who make use of the mentor in a wide variety of ways, adaptable to specific class needs.

Similarly, Harris & Calma (2009) showed that teachers’ engagement with In2science mentors has a sustained and systemic influence on teaching practice in participating schools:

  • The program leads to more interactive and practical-based science classes, drawing on current science knowledge and techniques
  • Teachers’ own knowledge is complemented through exposure to current university-level science

Case study: Watch the video

“Having Yianna in the class helps me to branch out and meet the requirements of all the students,
no matter what level they’re at.”

– Teacher, Copperfield College

Case study: Read more

“Alex makes things possible that would otherwise be difficult. He’s a great resource and I’m really impressed.”
– Teacher, Bundoora Secondary College

On University Mentors

In2science is committed to ensuring that developing the positive impact of the program extends to positive graduate outcomes for the university students who volunteer their time and efforts as In2science mentors.

Our mentor training includes professional development workshops that help university volunteers to reflect on the valuable transferable skills that they have gained through the program:

  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Improved confidence, resilience, and flexibility
  • Problem solving skills
  • Time management
  • For more details see “Providing Graduate Attribute capstone experiences through In2science” (Cook 2013)

For university students enrolled in STEM disciplines who are considering a future career in teaching (like Andreas, Anthony and Kathryn), In2science provides an invaluable opportunity to gain real experience in the classroom. 

Case study: Read more

“In2science gave me the professional skills I needed to get my first proper STEM job out of University, laying an important foundation for my career.”
– Alistair, Bioanalytical Chemist at CSL

Case study: Watch the video

“Being an In2science mentor helped me to develop crucial interpersonal and communication skills for this role.”
– Jaydene, Graduate Engineer at Lendlease

Impact Stories

See more stories of the extraordinary achievements of In2science mentors, teachers, and partner schools in our 2022, 2021 and 2019 Awards highlights.

1 Foundation for Young Australians (2017); Office of the Chief Scientist (2016) [scroll back]
2 AMSI (2017); Engineers Australia (2017); OECD (2017); Office of the Victorian Auditor General (2012) [scroll back]
3 Cridge & Cridge (2015); Lyons & Quinn (2010) [scroll back]
4 Ainley, Kos, & Nicholas (2008); AMSI (2017); McKinsey & Company (2017) [scroll back]