Tomorrow’s STEM industry in today’s classroom with Dr Cathy Foley

By | Events, News

By Jarrod McKenna

In October 2022 In2science delivered an engaging forum for STEM teachers, industry professionals, and In2science mentors. In partnership with Engineers Australia (EA) and hosted by In2science Chair The Honourable Prof John Brumby AO, the forum highlighted the current challenges of teaching translatable and useful STEM skills and knowledge to Australia’s high school students. We were honoured to have Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley AO deliver an inspiring keynote speech. Dr Foley then joined fellow STEM professionals EA General Manager Alesha Printz, CEO and Founder of Indigital Mikaela Jade, Education Program Manager at Rail Projects Victoria (RPV) Cherida Longley, and Head of Programs at Bendigo Tech School Ember Chittenden for an engaging and enlightening panel discussion.

The panel noted how desperately short Australia is of engineers, and workshopped ways in which we can engage more people (women and girls, in particular) with engineering careers and study options. Alesha echoed Dr Foley’s call for greater investment in and support of women and girls in STEM, and shared EA’s TV advert emphasising the enormous variety of engineering jobs and their impact across several different industries. Cherida also highlighted the incredible success that RPV have had using Minecraft to reach the younger generations and show them in an engaging, exciting way how the Metro Tunnel projects are designed, managed, and operated – it’s about finding what grabs the attention and interest of the younger generations and using that to connect them with real-world engineering.

The discussion ended by calling for greater support of engineering and to change the perception of ‘what an engineer does or looks like’ (not all of them wear hi-vis and a hard hat!). Finding new ways to approach STEM education like designing programs to look through an Indigenous lens, engaging with local tech schools and industry professionals, or even incorporating software like Minecraft into your outreach programs are all ways we are working to fill the hundreds of thousands of engineering jobs required by 2025 and to close the digital divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

In2science would like to thank EA for hosting the event, and all the speakers and panellists for sharing their thoughts, expertise, and words of advice for teachers and industry professionals to help better connect classrooms with real-world STEM.


Inaugural Science Expo with CSL Behring

By | News

By Jarrod McKenna

In June 2022, Hume Central Secondary College hosted their inaugural Science Expo partnering with In2science and CSL Behring. Year 7-9 students worked individually or in small groups to create an engaging, informative science activity, poster, or experiment to be judged by a panel of expert scientists from CSL Behring.

Over two days and on both the Blair Street and Dimboola Road Campuses, students presented on fascinating topics covering all corners of science – from elephant trunks to bacterial growth to chemical reactions! Students were joined by campus principals Mr Nick Bakatsoulas and Ms Vivienne Caravas, and Councillors Sam Misho and Karen Sherry of Hume City Council, who took part in the judging. Presentations were also judged by fellow Hume Central students with top teams being awarded the People’s Choice Award. Additionally, expert scientists from CSL Behring picked their top presentations – and it was a tight race! After much deliberation, the expert judges picked their winners, who were awarded with $50 gift vouchers!

Congratulations to all participating teams! In2science would like to thank CSL Behring for sponsoring the expo and judging the incredible presentations, and acknowledge Hume City Council’s support and commitment to science education in the region.


Work experience with an eMentor – an amazing opportunity!

By | News, Profiles

In2science provides eMentoring sessions to students in regional Victoria to encourage engagement with STEM learning in high school and beyond. Students in these areas often have reduced learning opportunities, however this was not the case for eMentee Ashlee, a year 10 student at Galen Catholic College in Wangaratta. Ashlee was given an amazing opportunity by her eMentor Georgia, a PhD student at The University of Melbourne. Georgia organised for Ashlee to undertake work experience alongside her as she undertook research for her PhD project at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Parkville.

Georgia’s PhD project is titled ‘Utilising stem cells to model Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)’. ALS is a disease of the brain and spinal cord that causes a progressive loss of muscle control and currently has no cure. While undertaking her work experience, Ashlee was able to assist Georgia in conducting experiments as part of this vital research.

Ashlee experienced what it is like working in a lab first-hand and learnt various laboratory techniques, an opportunity that she may not have otherwise had without the relationship cultivated and nurtured during In2science eMentoring sessions. “It was an absolute pleasure having her in the lab and she took to the techniques so incredibly well,” said Georgia. “An absolute super star!”

In2science is proud of the small role we played in connecting Ashlee, a student fascinated by neuroscience, and Georgia though our hugely successful eMentoring program. Mentor and mentee have been meeting once a week to talk all things neuroscience for two semesters and have built a lasting friendship during that time.

“Georgia is more than my mentor, she is my biggest inspiration, my role model, and my idol,” says Ashlee. “This experience was amazing. I learned an unimaginable amount and am now considering a career in medical research more than ever.”

If you think eMentoring could benefit students like Ashlee from your school, contact In2science today!


Overcoming setbacks – a powerful PD!

By | Events, News

In2science was thrilled to partner with Sarah Coonan and Taylor Clark from Teach for Australia to deliver a professional development workshop entitled “Resilience and Overcoming Setbacks” on Tuesday September 13. Hosted by Swinburne University of Technology, the workshop gave our mentors tools to help them tackle setbacks, and to recognise they do not have to face challenges alone.

After a grounding Acknowledgement of Country, the workshop began with a fun activity highlighting the diversity of participants. We discovered that the audience contained both early birds and night owls, coffee and non-coffee drinkers, and, on a more serious note, people that were the first in their family to go to university. This activity highlighted the fact that anyone can be met with setbacks, regardless of their background or behaviour.

Sarah and Taylor then stepped the mentors through a self-reflection exercise that involved remembering a past setback or failure. Through exploring previous challenges, they helped mentors identify who to go to for support, and consider what they learnt from the experience. Sarah and Taylor emphasised that resilience is all about getting support and adapting to challenges, rather than going it alone and risk breaking down. Their workshop helped mentors develop the skills needed to face obstacles head-on and not be afraid of failure. In2science thanks Sarah and Taylor from Teach for Australia for this enlightening and empowering workshop.







Deakin University joins In2science!

By | News

Secondary students in Geelong and throughout Victoria’s south-west will now have access to passionate and enthusiastic STEM mentors with Deakin University now part of the highly successful mentoring program In2science.

Deakin University joins current In2science partners, La Trobe University, The University of Melbourne, RMIT University and Swinburne University of Technology which have delivered the In2science program to more than 90 secondary schools across metropolitan Melbourne.

Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin said Deakin’s involvement would enable the program to be delivered to secondary schools in Geelong and south-west Victoria, including Warrnambool and surrounding regional towns.

“Deakin is excited to bring In2science to schools across regional Victoria,” Professor Martin said.

“This program provides secondary school students with a wonderful opportunity to engage in STEM and, hopefully, inspire the next generation of students and graduates in STEM courses and occupations.”

In2science Chair and La Trobe University Chancellor, the Honourable Professor John Brumby AO, is thrilled that more students across Victoria can now access this impactful program.

“We know that In2science gets kids excited about STEM and encourages aspirations for studying STEM at university, opening up the world of opportunities that STEM careers provide,” Mr Brumby said.

In2science is an innovative and proven multi-university schools partnership program that places university students as mentors inside Victorian high school classrooms.

For nearly 20 years, In2science has been promoting the importance of science and maths through its ten-week mentoring program delivered by university students studying degrees in STEM disciplines.

By working with the classroom teacher, mentors act as role models to secondary students, sharing their passion and knowledge for STEM and, importantly, relating schoolwork to real-world examples.

The Deakin-led part of program will be trialled among a small number of schools in 2022 ahead of a full rollout across Geelong and Warrnambool partner schools in 2023.

For enquiries about this exciting new partnership or to request a mentor, please contact Program Coordinator Tordy Rowe.


Volunteering Victoria Awards finalist, Thank you In2science!

By | News, Profiles

by Patrick Taylor

I first applied to become an In2science peer mentor at the start of 2021 at RMIT University, and after attending the training sessions, I was ready to be placed at a school and get started. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, my placement was indefinitely postponed until schools reopened. However, this didn’t stop me! While all the schools were physically closed, many opened their firewalls for online mentoring, and although I wasn’t part of the standard eMentoring program, I participated in a range of “Meet the Scientists” sessions at various schools.

When schools finally opened in late 2021 I was selected to participate in RMIT’s Regional Roadshow because of my work with In2science. This outreach program involved engaging with students and running STEM workshops in remote schools across regional Victoria. While at the different P-12 schools in disadvantaged regions, I was able to apply my In2science mentoring skills to a range of different age groups in very active and engaging ways with fellow mentors.

My participation in the In2science program and willingness to help train other mentors resulted in me receiving the Boeing-sponsored 2021 In2science STEM Champion award. I also co-facilitated computer science workshops and trained other mentors to do the same, while also sharing my education journey in computational chemistry with multiple schools online.

This year, I could finally begin my In2science placement at South Oakleigh Secondary College. Here I run a unique style of sessions, where myself and four mentees are undertaking a research project titled, “Carbon Nanomaterials”. This supports students on how to conduct basic research, create a presentation, and model nanomaterials.

In early 2022, I received an ominous message from Dr. William Sullivan, RMIT University’s In2science coordinator that read, “I’m going to send you a document to sign…. please sign it and think nothing of it”. A few weeks later another email appeared in my inbox that read, “We are emailing you to confirm that you have been shortlisted for the 2021 Volunteering Awards in the category of Inclusive Volunteering”!  Because I participated in RMIT University’s Regional Roadshow and volunteered with In2science, I was named a finalist at the 2021 Volunteering Victoria Awards at Government House for the Inclusive Volunteering Award.

In my spare time, I’m also completing my PhD at RMIT University on the discovery of novel nanomaterials for the miniaturisation of electronic components. I love to explain my research as, “playing with really small pieces of Lego” whenever I’m talking to students. I also love attending live music concerts, playing basketball, and collecting rubber ducks.

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.

Mentor Leaders Program 2022: Round Two

By | News, Profiles

by Rachel Ella

I was lucky enough to be selected as one of the In2science Leaders to take part in Mentor Leaders Program in 2021, an In2science initiative generously supported by Toyota Community Trust. This program was designed to give In2science mentors who have had demonstrated exceptional leadership and mentoring skills, the opportunity to be matched with STEM Professional Mentors and become In2science Leaders. The STEM Professional Mentors provide mentorship to the In2science Leaders enabling them to gain insight into STEM career pathways and life after university. The matched pairs met at least four times over a three-month period to discuss pathways from university into industry, career values, leadership, motivation, success and failure, planning and time management amongst many other topics.

I was, and still am, on the pathway to becoming a secondary school science and maths teacher. The team at In2science did a great job of matching me with an amazing STEM Professional Mentor who had already walked the path I am on. As well has being able to share her experience in the world of education, my mentor is also a mother, so many of our conversations revolved around time management, boundaries, self-care, setting goals for the day, week, month, or year and celebrating your wins, no matter how small. We have continued our relationship since the completion of the program which has included assistance with job applications and modernising my CV. I truly value the connection we made and the support she provided and continues to provide me.

Due to the state of the world last year and all of us having to negotiate lockdowns, home learning and isolation, most mentoring sessions occurred online. Fortunately, we all adapted to the situation and made it work. A few of us were able to meet with our mentor face-to-face at least once towards the end of the program but many had their first in-person interactions at our wrap up event at Toyota headquarters in Port Melbourne. Even with these challenges, the program was a great success.

Sixteen mentor/mentee pairs completed the program. The feedback provided was outstanding, with In2science mentors reporting improvements in the leadership and professional skills because of their participation. Importantly, STEM Professional mentors also experienced significant benefit from their participation with 100% of survey respondents reporting that they felt better equipped to mentor their junior colleagues. This is reflected in the net promoter score of 83 and the 14 STEM Professional mentors returning for 2022.

This year, I have transitioned from being a participant in the MLP to coordinating the Mentor Leaders Program. This has been an enjoyable progression and I have been able to provide a unique perspective on the MLP from a participant’s viewpoint.

A review of the 2021 MLP was undertaken, and a few improvements were made.  The biggest was extending the MLP to run over 8 months instead of 3, with at least 8 meetings to take place during that time. This change was crucial to allow a deeper relationship to develop between the In2science Leader and their STEM Professional Mentor. The 2022 program was launched in late April and several initial meetings have already taken place, in-person and online, with the feedback being that everyone is looking forward to developing their personal and professional skills and their relationships with their mentors/mentees.

In second semester we will be running the second part of the MLP – Small Group STEM Careers Sessions. In collaboration with their host classroom teacher, our In2science Leaders will work with a small group of students in their class and engage them in meaningful career discussions. They will ask the students to discuss their own interests, hobbies, and skills and who inspires them before using those answers to reflect on how science and maths relates to these. Overall, we are looking forward to the launching this part of the program and inspiring the next generation of STEM Professionals.

Speed-Networking with recent STEM graduates kick-starts In2science mentor careers

By | Events, News


The highly anticipated In2science Career Speed-Networking event on Tuesday, May 17 provided an exclusive opportunity for early-career STEM professionals to share their valuable insights and experiences with In2science mentors.

It was a unique crowd that gathered at RMIT’s Media Portal in Melbourne’s CBD, including university students from La Trobe University, The University of Melbourne, RMIT University and Swinburne University of Technology, and professionals from a wide variety of organisations like Toyota Motor Corporation, Thermo Fischer Scientific, Ericsson, CSL, Seqirus, Teach For Australia, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Melbourne Graduate School of Education 

In2science’s Advisory Board Chair and La Trobe University Chancellor, The Hon John Brumby AO began proceedings with an Acknowledgement of Country, followed by a short speech on the importance of STEM engagement programs like In2science to address the concerning gap between the lack of engagement in science and maths in secondary school students, and the increasing demand for STEM skills in Australia’s workforce. In addition, understanding the current STEM career climate and exploring pathways that are available after graduation is something many university students struggle with. The Career Speed-Networking event provided In2science mentors with a rare opportunity to speak to professionals within their fields of interest to learn more about what to expect in the future. 


Jett Osborne, an In2science alumnus and current Commercial Graduate Leader at Thermo Fisher Scientific ANZ took the floor for a captivating keynote on his own career journey from Biomedical Science Graduate at RMIT University in Australia, Hong Kong and Japan to his current position at Thermo Fisher Scientific ANZ. Jett’s advice about finding your STEM passion and weaving it into your story was invaluable for In2science mentors’ seeking to stand out from the crowd when securing that all-important first job.

Twelve STEM Professionals took part in the networking, where In2science mentors were invited to rotate around each station and have in depth conversations enabling them to tap into the wealth of experience on offer from recent graduates. 

To complement the evening, Kevin Karongo from RMIT University’s Job Shop was there to review student CV and resumes and to provide additional support to our mentors so they are better prepared for the future. 

Thank you to Toyota Community Trust for supporting the event and to all who took part to make it a success. 





In2science’s impact in 2021

By | News

We entered 2021 feeling optimistic and hopeful of a return to relative normality and, while many In2science university student mentors continued their studies online, coordinators were liaising with teachers to facilitate mentor placements in the classroom. Fortunately, despite some minor disruptions, most mentors were able to return to face-to-face mentoring, ensuring semester 1 was a great success. A return to an extended period of remote learning meant semester 2 threw up yet more challenges. However, mentors continued to demonstrate their commitment, passion, flexibility and generosity as we explored innovative ways to keep secondary school students engaged in their STEM studies.

Once again required to adapt and innovate to maintain engagement, In2science maintained strong engagement with teachers and students, facilitating 187 mentor placements in 54 partner schools to reach 3,521 students.

Feedback and survey data again confirmed that benefits of participating in In2science extend to all involved, including teachers, mentors and students. Teachers again reported that In2science mentors had positive impacts on their students, with 92% agreeing that mentors contributed additional specialised subject knowledge and/or real-life examples. While 87% noticed students were more engaged in the lesson when the mentor was present.

“In2science has effectively adapted their model to ensure mentors are able to join in the online learning environment. This has allowed the mentoring experience to continue, which for our students has added stability, something that has been critical to provide given the current uncertain climate.” – J. Vieusseux, Teaching & Learning Specialist & D. Dalton, STEM Specialist, Keysborough College

In2science Mentors again faced many challenges, however, their enthusiasm was not dampened and they continued to innovate in their interactions with their mentees. The capacity to adapt their approaches has provided the opportunity to build professional skills, with 93% of mentors reporting that In2science developed skills they will use in the future, while 85% of mentors felt they had a positive impact.

“At the beginning of the program my mentee told me she wasn’t 100% sure what to expect out of the program. In our last session she told me that she’s now enjoying school more, feels confident about her excitement for the future, and feels more prepared for one of her career choices.” Brooke Zoccoli, La Trobe University

Importantly, at the conclusion of their mentoring placement, 42% of mentors reported that they are considering teaching as a career. Approximately 10% of university STEM-qualified workers are employed in the education sector [Australia’s STEM Workforce Report, 2020], and therefore, In2science evidently provides university students with a positive and affirming experience in the classroom. With a shortage of STEM-specialist teachers, In2science can provide a critical pathway to a career in education.

Ultimately, students again experienced substantial benefits from interacting with a mentor, with 71% reporting increased confidence in science/maths. Consistent with past evaluations, the frequency of interaction with the mentor correlated positively with their attitudes and confidence levels in STEM studies and careers (see below).

“I love my interactions with my science mentor, it was the highlight of my week. He taught me things in science and math and gave me advice on everything he could, which I deeply appreciate.” – Year 9 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, and look forward to building student aspirations in STEM in 2022.

The pleasure of presence: Returning eMentor, Chukwunonso Anyaoku, reflects on his In2science experience

By | News, Profiles

In2science mentors undergo vigorous training to prepare them for a placement with Victorian secondary school classrooms. A learning tool we love to use before entering a class is storytelling. At each training session, In2science invites past mentors to join coordinators in building the connection between verbal instruction and practice. Returning mentors reflect on their placements of previous semesters, sharing their experience and advice to help the new cohort feel empowered and confident before beginning their first placement.

Chukwunonso Anyaoku, a PhD candidate studying Chemical Engineering at RMIT University, joined In2science in 2021 and offered his valuable insight to the 2022 cohort of eMentors. Like many university students, Chukwunonso was looking for a job to support himself and when finding In2science, took some time to decide if it was something he wanted to pursue at the time. In the end, he discovered that the opportunity he was given, money could not compensate. It was more valuable than he ever realised.

Chukwunonso is an eMentor. eMentors support small groups of students with online mentoring and Chukwunonso’s first placement was with one student. In his first placement he was paired with, what their teacher described as, a reserved and shy student from Virtual School Victoria. However, due to the tailored nature of the eMentoring model, Chukwunonso was pleasantly disappointed. His eMentee quickly came out of their shell, “the placement takes on the personality of you and your mentee. It eventually ends up being your world and you can bend and shape things to your strengths.”

To his fellow eMentors he shared 4 discoveries:

  1. Use all the resources at your disposal. Your greatest resource at the beginning is the teacher. The teacher already knows what the student may be like, what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are. Ask the teacher and you can hit the ground running.
  2. In2science training works. Sometimes there are curveballs but remember your training. It is priceless.
  3. You get to form a real connection with a small group of students (in eMentoring). It allowed me to craft the sessions to my eMentee’s benefit.
  4. Expect pleasant surprises. For me, it was discovering that mentoring provided emotional security for my student. The session will take on the personalities of you and your eMentees. You yourself more at home than you thought possible. You will also find that your anecdotes are so appropriate. It is an authentic experience.

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.