Meet In2science alumnus, Jett Osborne – ANZ graduate leader at Thermo Fisher Scientific

By | News, Profiles

In2science and pursuing a university STEM degree can lead to incredible career opportunities. Meet Jett Osborne, who went from graduating secondary school in a small New South Wales coastal town to joining global biotechnology company Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Graduate Leadership Program.

Jett’s STEM career started in rural NSW when he saw an interview from the Vice-President of genetics at GSK, Dr. Allen Roses, igniting a passion for science that saw him enrolling in Biomedical Science at RMIT University. During his degree, Jett joined In2science as an in-class mentor and eMentor of regional school students, totaling 20 weeks of mentoring before graduating university in early 2020.

As the youngest of 7 children and the first in his family to attend university, Jett had many relatable qualities that made him a successful In2science mentor. One of his favourite In2science memory was being a mentor in a Year 9 science class at a low socio-economic boys school in Melbourne’s West. When recalling the placement, Jett says,

“Here, science was an arduous learning experience rather than something to ever be passionate about. In my first practical lab experience, 4 out of 22 kids brought their lab coats because it was better doing nothing than participating in experiments. So, I spent my entire 10 weeks coming up with a fun, but informative science experience and then spent every week advertising it to the students. I worked hard to shift the students’ opinion of STEM such that on my final day, when I ran the practical, I had 17 our of 22 students bring their lab coats to participate in my science experiment.”

Mentoring with In2science helped Jett develop professional skills, like time management, communication and leadership skills, which made him more competitive in the job market. He won a place in the highly competitive Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) where he conducted research in malaria genetics at Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute. He was given another opportunity to further develop his passion for biopharmaceutical innovation and precision medicine a year later when he received the New Colombo Plan scholarship from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which allowed him to travel all throughout the Asia-Pacific region and reside in countries like Hong Kong, Vietnam and Japan for over a year.

COVID-19 brought Jett home to Australia where he joined Thermo Fisher Scientific’s graduate program. Jett is participating in three diverse functional areas within the organisation to get a real feel of the intersection between scientific research and business over two years. Jett wants to continue using his science background to provide value to challenging and high impact global projects.

Overall, Jett agrees that participating in In2science had many benefits and he’s left with wonderful memories. “During my time at In2science I have made numerous amazing connections and lifelong friendships. My advice would be to just apply for it!”

If you are a university student interested in mentoring for In2science, click here.

Toyota Community Trust to help enhance In2science mentor impact

By | News

In2science is thrilled to once again partner with Toyota Community Trust to expand and deepen our impact and help build In2science mentors’ leadership capacity. With Toyota’s generous support, In2science will recruit and train 34 additional university student mentors from our partner universities. In2science will also foster partnerships with 4 new schools, 2 in the west and 2 in regional/rural Victoria, enabling us to reach up to 240 extra students per semester. Building on a successful project funded by Toyota in 2019, In2science mentors will increase STEM engagement, promoting STEM career aspirations and increasing understanding of connections between STEM curriculum and careers.

This grant will also enable In2science to establish a Mentor Leaders Program, providing an opportunity for 25 returning and experienced In2science mentors to accelerate their leadership capacity by supporting a designated group of new In2science mentors who are completing their first placement. Excitingly, In2science mentors will be matched with a STEM professional so that they can further enhance their understanding of the myriad STEM career pathways available. This additional mentoring tier will help to bridge the missing links between STEM Industry, universities and schools, for deeper awareness of STEM careers.

In2science is one of eight organisations to have received funding in 2021 to encourage young people to pursue STEM-related study and careers. The Toyota Community Foundation STEM grants forms an ongoing legacy since the closing of manufacturing operations in Australia.

Back to school with In2science!

By | News

It has been twelve months since In2science mentors stepped foot in Victorian classrooms. This time last year, schools across Victoria were met with the monumental challenge of shifting their curriculum online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some In2science mentors were lucky enough to visit students twice before the state was plunged into a lockdown that lasted a total of 111 days.

This year, the mood is significantly improved. Mentors met each other for training in-person for the first time on campus. More importantly, they were excited to be allowed back into the classroom.

Catriona Vi Nguyen-Robertson, a PhD candidate in Microbiology and Immunology at the Peter Doherty Institute with The University of Melbourne, is mentoring at Maribyrnong College. After her first session she said she is most looking forward to “sharing my passion for science with the students…and of course, singing songs about their studies!”.

Software Engineering student, Kazi Kabir spent his first session chatting about his experience at La Trobe University. He answered lots of questions about computer science, including how Minecraft is related to the field. “I had a great time with the kids!… Definitely a win”, he said.

Joseph Araniakulathil who is mentoring a Year 8 science class at St Peter’s College, Cranbourne had a successful week too. As a student completing Biomedical Engineering at Swinburne University of Technology, he was keen to see that the students had a general curiosity about science, which made engaging with them so much easier.

“I had a wonderful first session with my Year 7 class at Coburg High School working on classification systems for biology”, says Elowen Amos from The University of Melbourne. Elowen studies Geology so she was excited when the students had lots of questions about the subject, including what the oldest rocks are and if she has seen any of them.

Teachers are noticing a difference in engagement already. Lakshmi Sharma, the teacher of Elowen’s class sent glowing feedback to In2science’s coordinator at The University of Melbourne, Hayden Dalton, saying that Elowen’s presence has been wonderful. “The kids love her, and she sat with a difficult student and was just brilliant with him”, Lakshmi glowed. Because of Elowen’s experience in geology, Lakshmi also confirmed she will be talking to the Year 9s separately about rocks and volcanoes for a lesson in their Earth Sciences unit, “the kids are going to love it to have an expert person talk to them – she is such a superstar!”

So far, 94 mentors will be going into classrooms in metropolitan Melbourne, a huge positive difference compared to the challenging circumstances of last year. We look forward to their success stories and the advice they will pass onto new mentors who sign up to future semesters with In2science. It is a great achievement to be back doing what we love and sharing the amazing things STEM has to offer in everyday life and beyond school.

In2science’s impact in 2020

By | News

As the huge challenges associated with COVID-19 became apparent 12 months ago, In2science swung into action to ensure that we could continue supporting schools, teachers and students. As everyone grappled with the impacts of social-distancing restrictions, remote learning and elevated anxiety levels, In2science consulted with mentors and teachers, and developed a range of options to offer schools our support.

Adapting the program and upskilling our mentors so that they could continue mentoring online ensured that In2science could continue to foster students’ enthusiasm for STEM. As such, In2science placed 239 mentors in 55 partner schools, reaching 2,314 students.

The In2science mentors’ unwavering commitment to supporting teachers and students, all the while facing their own challenges, is reflected in the outstanding feedback received.

“The support and care that mentors gave our students was the highlight of the term for the students and also for us, as it really contextualized their learning and provided many benefits.” – Stephanie Brown, Teacher, Bundoora Secondary College

Consistent with past evaluations, 92% of teachers noticed students engaged more in the lesson with a mentor present, with 93% agreeing that the mentor was a good role model for students. Importantly, teachers who hosted mentors last year were immensely grateful for the mentors’ presence, resulting in a Net Promoter Score–characterised as a measure of how likely a teacher is to recommend the program to a colleague–of 100, the maximum possible score.

 

The support mentors received from teachers and In2science coordinators is also reflected in the exceptional feedback provided. In 2020, In2science mentors’ adaptability, commitment and professionalism was on display. Indeed, 97% of mentors agreed that In2science developed skills they will use in the future, with 85% feeling that they had a positive impact during their placement.

“Being a mentor has definitely put me outside my comfort zone but has taught me so many new skills and grown my confidence so much.” –Emma Holder, Swinburne University of Technology

Ultimately, the impact on students was dramatic, with 77% of students who interacted with a mentor realising that everyone can study science. Importantly, the evidence is clear: the frequency of interaction with a mentor has a significant positive impact on students’ attitudes towards science and maths, and STEM study (see below).

“This has been a really rewarding progam. I feel as though I am more motivated and inspired to get into science when I’m older” – Yr 8 student, Virtual School Victoria

Once again, In2science would like to express our sincere gratitude for the commitment and support of our outstanding partner schools, teachers and mentors, especially throughout these most challenging of times.

In2science mentor, Emma Holder shares how her high school experience motivated her to mentor at university

By | News, Profiles

In high school, In2science mentor Emma Holder was lucky to have a teacher who had significant influence on her decision to study science at university. This teacher would often go on “mind-bending tangents during class” and Emma was left inspired by someone who was so intelligent and engaging, which in turn influenced her own curiosity and ambition.

This high school experience was an important motivator in Emma starting her own In2science journey when commencing studies at Swinburne University of Technology. Emma notes, “I wanted a chance to have a similar impact on someone, improve my science communication skills and break down stereotypes to inspire more gender diversity in the field”.

At Swinburne, Emma is completing a Bachelor of Science, majoring in physics with a minor in applied mathematics. This combination of specialisation and insight made for a perfect placement when Emma was matched with a Year 8 maths class at St Joseph’s College in Ferntree Gully in Semester 1. The placement was off to a challenging start when the COVID-19 pandemic forced all students to transition to remote learning. However, Emma was able to work weekly with a small group of students online. These students needed some extension to keep them motivated during this unprecedented time, so Emma focused on collaborative problem solving to keep them engaged.

In Semester 2 Emma took on an additional Year 12 student mentee with whom she quickly developed a rapport. Emma says, “Although most of our sessions were not focused on STEM subjects, we spent hours having deep philosophical conversations, sharing life experiences and talking about our hobbies. I felt like we formed a really lovely friendship”.

For Emma, the most rewarding thing about her studies is how natural phenomena can be described using mathematical language. Emma elaborates, “Physics is a field with so many real-world applications and there is always something new to learn that will make your brain hurt”. When thinking about life after university, Emma doesn’t know what she wants to do yet, but is fascinated by postgraduate studies in quantum or optical science.

We asked Emma what she’d like to say to the students in her In2science class as the year’s end approaches and she replied, “The people that do what they love are always the coolest in my eyes. I’ve learned that it’s important to be curious and open-minded, and that learning does not happen just from study, but from everything around you. For me, developing a passion for learning has been essential for my studies, but even more importantly… for my personal growth”.

If you are a university student interested in mentoring for In2science, click here.

 If you are a teacher, click here to host a mentor in your classroom.

In2science celebrates 2020 with its first online Awards Showcase

By | Events, News

In2science’s Annual Awards is the most highly anticipated event of the year, providing an opportunity to honour achievements of participating schools, teachers, mentors and students throughout Victoria.  For the first time in this program’s history, In2science shared the stories of our very worthy Award recipients in a video showcase.

In2science Program Director, Dr Alison Every led the proceedings and Acknowledgment of Country before The Honourable Professor John Brumby AO, Chair of the In2science Advisory Board, took to the camera. In his keynote speech, Professor Brumby reflected on the challenges of the year, thanking all those involved in the In2science community for a successful year in STEM peer mentoring.

Dr Every spoke at length about the launch of In2science at The University of Western Australia and introduced the first In2science award winner from Western Australia. Other mentor finalists were unaware if they had won until the premiere, building even greater excitement! We heard from our outstanding mentee awardees, who sent videos from their homes or at school to reflect on how important their In2science mentors were during such a tumultuous year.

“This has been a really rewarding program. I feel as though I am more motivated and inspired to get into science when I’m older. Not only that, I’ve made friends. I feel I’ve had someone to talk to, who’s like me. – Alex, Year 8 student

St Joseph’s College, Ferntree Gully, Science Leader, and In2science alumnus, Nick Harvey, was a worthy winner of the Mentor Support Award, after receiving significant praise from mentor, Emma. Bundoora Secondary College, winners of the School Engagement Award were one of the first schools in 2020 to invite In2science to mentor 30 of their Big Picture Academy students during remote learning. Mentors joined small groups of school students online during remote learning to help them visualise their STEM projects. The positive impact of these interactions on the students was evident as they thanked their mentors for their support.

After the broadcast of the Awards Showcase, supporters of In2science, our mentors, finalists, award winners and their families were invited to a private celebration event. Professor Brumby introduced our special guest, Victorian STEM Education Ambassador Dr Tien Kieu MP, who gave a humbling speech about the importance of STEM education and lifelong learning, noting that persistence is the key to addressing the challenges of today, because even experts in their fields can still find their disciplines difficult.

“As a professional scientist, physicist in fact, I still find science very difficult, but rewarding. It is difficult, there is not illusion about that. It is so important for students to have availability to speak to someone who can explain the concepts and answer the questions, but equally important is for people to share their own experiences.” – Dr Tien Kieu MP, VIC STEM Education Ambassador

After the formal proceedings, The University of Melbourne coordinators Julia Cleghorn and Hayden Dalton led the participants through a friendly quiz before the In2science team initiated private rooms for groups of 4 participants to get to know each other. The groups were diverse and included In2science Advisory Board members, mentors, In2science team members, school and industry representatives and friends and families of award winners. This diversity enabled conversations that were stimulating and dynamic, with topics ranging from “What’s your STEM journey?” to “Memorable experiences of 2020”. To finish, participants reflected on their group conversations and a hugely challenging, but ultimately, rewarding, year, before Dr Every formally closed the event.

In2science would like to sincerely thank Boeing for their generous support in sponsoring In2science’s first online Awards Showcase. Special thanks to Dr Tien Kieu MP for joining our celebration event. We would like to acknowledge our program partners, The Victorian Department of Education and Training, CSL Behring, the Howmet Aerospace Foundation and to Dr Peter Laver and the Selby Scientific Foundation for their generous support.

 

 

There’s no party like a Zoom party: In2science mentors test their STEM skills and interrogate their coordinators

By | News

It is the middle of yet another challenging semester where Melbourne remains in lockdown. Exams are looming and placements will soon be wrapping up for the year. Apart from small picnics with close friends, there are few other things besides falling COVID-19 cases to look forward to. However, the In2science team always have something up their sleeves. To lift spirits and connect with our outstanding community of volunteer university student mentors, we organised an online event that celebrated the enthusiasm, diverse experiences and incredible minds of this huge, multi-university family.

 

Forty-five mentors from La Trobe University, The University of Melbourne, Swinburne University of Technology, RMIT University and Monash University spent a Thursday evening online to partake in a few hours of laughter and friendly competition. The session was hosted by our talented University of Melbourne coordinators, Hayden Dalton and Julia Cleghorn, who began the proceedings by randomly creating small groups of mentors from our partner universities. This was a unique challenge for participants because it is a rare thing to partner up with people you don’t necessarily know in social gatherings. However, one of the amazing benefits of the In2science program is that it brings together like-minded individuals from multiple universities in a space to interact where they would not normally.

Each group created a team name and participated in games and quizzes to test their diverse general knowledge and STEM skills. The prize was worth competing for; UberEats vouchers and potential free dinners were at stake! Once the winning team was crowned the next item on the agenda was something the other In2science coordinators were not looking forward to.

For the remainder of the evening, each In2science University Coordinator was invited to share their university and STEM journey in one minute before throwing themselves at the mercy of the mentors in the room. Mentors were invited to ask anything of their coordinators, and In2science Director, Alison Every fielded the questions to an eager crowd.

Two hours went by in a blink of an eye. In2science mentors and coordinators learned much from each other and felt more connected than ever. For a few hours the challenges of the year were forgotten, and we were reminded of what we can look forward to when they are finally behind us.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our special event, it was a memorable experience that In2science hopes to replicate as soon as we can – and in person, too.

CSL Behring Broadmeadows announces 4-year partnership with In2science

By | News

CSL Behring Broadmeadows, an arm of the global biotechnology leader CSL, has announced a 4 year partnership with In2science to enhance the delivery of STEM peer-mentoring to local schools in the Hume community.

The partnership is the first of its kind for CSL Behring Broadmeadows, who will now support In2science in providing schools the City of Hume additional STEM university mentors and outreach opportunities. With CSL Behring as an official partner of In2science, more than 150 lower secondary school students in Melbourne’s outer north-western suburbs will be supported over the next 4 years. To complement the In2science program, CSL Behring’s highly skilled STEM employees will head into classrooms and encourage science and mathematics students to consider the vast STEM career opportunities available after university.

In2science Program Director, Alison Every is thrilled CSL Behring is an official partner to the program. “Having corporate partners such as CSL Behring allows In2science to recruit more student mentors, provide better learning outcomes to the students they help teach in the classroom, and ultimately encourage school students to study STEM subjects in the future” she said.

“We are really excited to harness the knowledge and experience of CSL Behring’s people to enhance the In2science program for students in the Broadmeadows area,” she said.

CSL Behring’s parent company, CSL, proudly sponsored In2science’s 2019 Annual Awards, and we are is looking forward to working collaboratively with CSL Behring Broadmeadows over the next four years to deliver and further improve the In2science program for students in the Hume community.

To find out more about how Industry partnerships can support STEM engagement for secondary school students, please contact In2science Program Director, Dr Alison Every.

In2science mentors create online resources for classrooms with The Content Creation Project

By | News, Profiles

   The mentors of In2science are passionate about sharing their love of STEM. With many unable to do so in classrooms this year, we decided to find more innovative ways for these enthusiastic volunteer university students to provide a different style of science engagement to the future scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians of Melbourne.

The Content Creation Project was launched to siphon mentors’ communication skills and knowledge into free online resources that teachers and students can access at any time to enhance their learning experience.

 

These resources can be used to introduce a topic to students, assist their learning or provide extension to enthusiastic individuals. Vivian’s video has already been presented to a Year 8 biology class and Sarah’s revision content has been shared with regional VCE Biology In2science mentees.

The In2science Content Creation Project has enabled our mentors to produce and share inspiring STEM content that relates to their studies or personal interest. This innovative approach has enabled mentors to continue engaging with our partner schools despite the multiple transitions students have faced this year.

You can find all In2science resources at our Youtube channel, and on Twitter or Facebook

Howmet Aerospace Foundation supports In2science mentoring and STEM engagement in south-east Melbourne

By | News

In2science is delighted to announce that the Howmet Aerospace Foundation is funding our peer-mentoring program to support more secondary school students in south-east Melbourne in 2021.

In 2019, In2science recruited and trained more than 300 mentors who mentored over 5000 students. Thanks to the Howmet Aerospace Foundation, In2science can now recruit and train an additional 20 university student mentors who will be placed in up to 10 low socio-economic (SES) schools in south-east Melbourne in 2021. This will help In2science increase STEM engagement and career aspirations for more than 350 Victorian secondary school students.

The Howmet Aerospace Foundation is the charitable arm of Howmet Aerospace, a leader in advanced engineered solutions, and invests in STEM education and development initiatives, particularly to increase access to STEM fields in underrepresented groups. Howmet Fastening Systems is based in south-east Melbourne. This partnership provides an opportunity for Howmet employees to participate in STEM engagement with our partner schools in a meaningful capacity. Importantly, students will have a better understanding of the tangible connections between the STEM curriculum and the myriad opportunities available when they pursue a rewarding career in STEM.

To find out more about how Industry partnerships can support STEM engagement for secondary school students, please contact In2science Program Director, Dr Alison Every.