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In2science Awards Night 2023 – celebrating an exciting year of growth and innovation

By Awards, Events, News

What a busy and exciting year 2023 was for In2science! We welcomed new schools, new team members, and even a new university to the In2science family. We held two insightful professional development workshops on careers and inclusivity. We tried our hand at different types of mentoring with Ngarri Primary School, Banyule Nillumbik Tech School and Greenvale Secondary College. And with the generous and continued support of Toyota Community Trust we were able to run another successful year of the Mentor Leaders Program. The In2science team, along with over 170 guests, celebrated the year’s accomplishments at our annual Awards Night, held once again at the impressive Science Gallery Melbourne.


Program Director Dr Gabby Goldberg opened the ceremony with an Acknowledgement of Country and reflection on her first full year in the role. Gabby highlighted all the amazing achievements of the In2science team and participants during 2023. In2science Chair, The Hon. Prof. John Brumby AO, welcomed everyone to the event and introduced our keynote speaker, Dr Flora Hui, newly-appointed Board Director for Toyota Community Trust. Dr Hui’s speech was entertaining and enlightening as she discussed her love of science and impressive career pathway. It was an honour to have her present at our awards ceremony.


To change things up this year the awards were presented by our fabulous Program Coordinators. We began the ceremony by congratulating our joint Mentor Support Teacher Award winners, Kristen Raine from Maffra Secondary College and Michelle Sanders from Footscray High School. Kristen signed up over 30 students to the eMentoring program in 2023, and Michelle has hosted nearly 50 mentors in her time with the program – outstanding achievements from these teachers! Our joint winners for the School Engagement Award were Warragul Regional College and Warrnambool College. Both schools were new to the program in 2023 and embraced In2science and our mentors wholeheartedly. A highlight of the night was the thank you video message from the teachers at Warrnambool College, which was a lovely moment to share with our guests. This year we had an amazing 10 finalists for the Outstanding Mentee Award and we again had joint recipients, Sarah Chea from Westall Secondary College and Charlie Still from Maffra Secondary College. Sarah and Charlie were both extremely enthusiastic mentees and their mentors spoke very highly of them – two very deserving winners!


The mentor awards followed, with the addition of a new category in 2023 – the Communication Award, for a mentor who displayed skill and enthusiasm for communicating to a diverse audience. Swinburne University of Technology student Anton Guzman was the recipient of this award, for his ability to explain scientific concepts in an easy-to-understand and entertaining way. The STEM Champion Award went to new In2science mentor Joshua Watkins from Deakin University. Josh shared his passion for science with his students by taking his own microscope to the class and was always willing to speak about his experiences studying STEM. Max Marchesan from La Trobe University was the winner of the Connection Mentor Award. Max is an experienced mentor, having completed three placements, and he works hard to build a rapport with his students. Yasindu Hettiarachchi from The University of Melbourne won the Dedication Mentor Award for his commitment to helping his students see their STEM potential. The Impact Mentor Award, proudly sponsored by Toyota Community Trust, was awarded to Anthony Menna from RMIT University. Anthony’s use of science memes and Dad jokes was a big hit with his students!


The Mentor Leaders Program Award was again sponsored by Toyota Community Trust and was awarded to a mentor that fully embraced the opportunities of the program. Zoe Whitehouse from The University of Melbourne was the 2023 recipient for her engagement with her STEM Professional Mentor Tahnee. The ceremony concluded with the Regional Impact Award, which was awarded to eMentor Jessica Ovens from RMIT University, who was always very encouraging and supportive of her eMentee Mary in their sessions.


During the ceremony we heard from three amazing speakers about their experiences with the In2science program. First up was a heartwarming speech from eMentees Jemima Lockwood and Skye Speers from Ballarat High School. Jemima and Skye spoke about their mentoring sessions with eMentor Tallulah and how she helped them explore different topics in science and how to pursue a career in STEM. Our final speaker of the night was Jolene Erin Rosca, a mentor from Deakin University. Jolene delivered a wonderful speech describing her pathway in STEM and her experience of being an In2science mentor. We would like to thank these speakers for having the courage to speak in front of over 170 people. This is not an easy task, and you all did a fantastic job. We are proud of you!


At the conclusion of the ceremony, it was time to relax and enjoy some food and drinks in the Western Gallery. It was wonderful to see people from schools, universities, government, and industry networking and enjoying their time at the event. It was a perfect way to finish an energetic year at In2science and left us all looking forward to what 2024 will bring.


Click here to read more about the 2023 Awards

Click here to access the 2023 Awards Photo Gallery


In2science would like to thank Science Gallery Melbourne for once again hosting this fabulous event. In2science is grateful for the generous support of our Program and Awards partners: Toyota Community Trust, CSL Behring, and the Department of Education and Training Victoria.

Another successful year for the Mentor Leaders Program!

By Events, News

One of the key aims of the In2science Peer Mentoring Program is to foster and build connections between industry, universities, and schools. The Mentor Leaders Program (MLP) forms a major part of this goal. The MLP was initiated in the second half of 2021 and has run continuously since. In 2023, in only its third year, the MLP was bigger and better than ever! This is all thanks to the generous support of Toyota Community Trust. So, what did we achieve in the MLP this year?


The MLP kicked off in May with STEM Professionals and university mentors eagerly signing up to be part of the program. In 2023 we were able to match 15 STEM Professionals (the mentors) to In2science Leaders (the mentees). After some training, the pairs jumped straight into organising meetings to discuss a range of topics, such as pathways through university and into the workforce, interview strategies, networking tips, and applying for jobs. It has been great to see that not every meeting has focussed solely on career progression, with our participants also chatting about work-life balance, managing burnout, and the dreaded imposter syndrome! The In2science team have loved reading the feedback on these meetings and we are so pleased to see both mentors and mentees benefitting from the relationship.


On Tuesday October 3 the Mentor Leaders Program had its first ever catch up at the fantastic Royal Melbourne Hotel on Bourke Street. Despite the inclement weather, many of the program’s participants ventured out to enjoy the event. The evening kicked off with some drinks and canapes in the candlelit “Cells” room, which provided a spooky and fun atmosphere to catch up with the attendees. It was especially lovely to see our mentor/mentee pairs excitedly chatting together. Our guests were treated to a workshop hosted by Taylor and Eshita from Teach for Australia. The workshop, titled “Leading Self, Leading Others”, took the participants on an exploration of what it means to be a leader, and how being self-aware and understanding your own behaviours will help you to be a better leader of others. This was a fantastic event and we thank Teach for Australia for their input and expertise.


This year we had four STEM Professionals from Thermo Fisher Scientific participating in the MLP, and one of them, Jacqueline Saykao, organised for the paired mentees to experience a full day visit to the office in Scoresby. This was a brilliant initiative and it was eagerly taken up by the In2science Leaders. The attendees were treated to a tour of Thermo Fisher and learnt about different roles at the company. Elizabeth Thomas, Bachelor of Science student at The University of Melbourne and current In2science mentor, said, “I was very lucky to visit Thermo Fisher and learn about the company’s values. Each of our mentors presented and explained what their roles entailed and what a day in their life looked like. I found these talks very helpful to understanding what a career in STEM would be like and it also made me realise I am happy with my choice of study. We wrapped up the day with lunch at a local cafe, where we networked with other Thermo Fisher employees and Grad Program participants. Overall, I had a great visit and learned a lot more than I expected about one potential career in STEM.” In2science would like to thank Jacqueline and the team at Thermo Fisher for this fantastic opportunity. This is what the MLP is all about!


To wrap up this extraordinary year, on Thursday November 30, the MLP participants gathered at the beautiful Deakin Downtown to share stories and achievements. Katarina Persic, Community Foundations Coordinator at Toyota Australia, opened the event. We were then treated to a presentation by Thilanka Morawakage, Project Officer at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Thilanka spoke passionately about how her love for science began with visits to Questacon and CSIRO, and has led her to an exciting career in biomedicine with lots of opportunities to volunteer. A panel discussion with mentor/mentee pair Catherine Hart, Senior Sustainability and Environmental Specialist at Toyota Australia, and Veda Mileva, Bachelor of Biomedicine student at La Trobe University, followed. Moderated by In2science Program Coordinator Rachel Ella, the discussion highlighted how the program produces mutually beneficial relationships. Cat mentioned how inspiring it was to meet new people in the program and how it has helped her reflect on her own career pathway. Veda loved that she was able to achieve her goals of fine-tuning her CV and adding her personality into her cover letters. This event was the perfect way to wrap-up a very successful year of the Mentor Leaders Program.


The In2science Team have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the enthusiastic STEM Professionals that volunteered to take part in the MLP this year, and the exceptional group of university students that participated. We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Toyota Community Trust for their ongoing support. We hope the MLP will return in 2024 with even more matches and exciting events!

Inclusivity at In2science!

By Events, News

At In2science we love to support our hard-working volunteers by offering professional development and upskilling sessions that can be applied to their school-student mentoring and beyond. We hosted our second professional development workshop for the year on Wednesday September 20 at the stunning Deakin Downtown in Melbourne’s CBD. “The Inclusive Mentor” was presented by Alicea Yu, Coordinator of Training and Capacity Building at Deakin University, and was enjoyed by both in-class mentors and eMentors from our partner universities.

Alicea began the session by welcoming us all to a safe and respectful space, offering us the chance to learn and ask questions without judgement. While the topics of inclusivity and the LGBTQIA+ community can be serious, Alicea presented with such warmth and humour that attendees felt comfortable opening up and sharing their experiences and thoughts. An activity centred around each of us choosing one privilege to keep was particularly eye-opening, and helped us realise that we may have privileges that we take for granted. Alicea taught us ways to embed inclusivity in our daily lives by being more aware of our behaviour and language. Small changes can have a huge impact on making others feel more included and valued, and is something that we can all continuously improve upon.

In2science is proud to be an inclusive program and we embrace the fact that there is always something new to learn. We would like to thank Alicea for sharing her knowledge with us and our mentors. We are certain that everyone left the workshop feeling more confident with inclusive practice and ready to take these skills to their mentoring sessions. If you are interested in becoming a mentor for In2science, apply today or email us to find out more!

Your Online Brand and the Power of LinkedIn – our latest PD!

By Events, News

One of our favourite activities in the In2science team is gathering mentors from all five partner universities for professional development workshops! It’s a great opportunity for mentors to network with each other and the In2science staff in a relaxed environment, while learning skills to use both inside and outside their mentoring role. On Tuesday June 20th, a group of past, current, and future In2science mentors assembled at the La Trobe University City Campus for a fun and informative session. After another busy semester of studying, our university student mentors were eager to learn ideas and advice for progressing their future careers!


Our guest speaker was Tina Papadakos, a Careers Consultant from the Swinburne University of Technology Career Development Team. Tina delivered an interactive and insightful workshop, beginning by explaining how to identify your personal brand, and describing ways to develop this and communicate it to others. We talked about developing a LinkedIn profile and how to use this to connect with people and groups (like In2science!). Topics such as informational interviewing, elevator pitches, and using the STAR technique in interviews were all covered with fun activities. The mentors were able to see how volunteering for In2science can boost their resume and employability. We all know how competitive the job market is, so the tips and tricks provided by Tina will be put to good use by our mentors as they navigate through their studies and careers.


The In2science Team is proud to offer a variety of useful and fun professional development opportunities to our hardworking volunteer mentors. If you are interested in becoming a mentor for In2science, apply today or email us to find out more!





Awards Night – celebrating achievements in 2022!

By Awards, Events, News

In2science’s gala event, our annual Awards Night, returned to Science Gallery Melbourne in December 2022. Mentors, students, teachers, government and industry representatives, and the In2science team all gathered in the newly renovated Black Box Theatre to celebrate the achievements of In2science participants. 2022 saw the return to a more ‘normal’ form of education for all, and this was thoroughly embraced by our mentors and schools. Metropolitan-based mentors were excited to be back amongst their students in the classroom, while our eMentors enthusiastically engaged with their regional eMentees via the online mode of our program.

Awards Night began with an Acknowledgement of Country and speech from newly appointed In2science Program Director Dr Gabby Goldberg. Gabby spoke of her excitement to tackle her new role as director and her vision for In2science’s future. This was followed by a welcoming speech from In2science Chair, The Hon. Prof. John Brumby AO, and an inspiring keynote delivered by Katie Thompson, Corporate Services General Manager at Toyota – proud partners of this event and the In2science program. Katie spoke about how important it is to encourage engagement with STEM learning, a task that all our mentors aspire to achieve.

The awards presentation kicked off with joint teacher winners Carolyn Drenen from Lalor North Secondary College and Maree Timms from Galen Catholic College. Carolyn and Maree are two of In2science’s biggest supporters, and together they have hosted nearly 30 placements! Carolyn and Maree were very deserving winners of the Mentor Support Teacher Award. The School Engagement Award followed, with joint winners Galen Catholic College and South Oakleigh College recognised for their continuous support and promotion of the program. The Outstanding Mentee Award was next, with an extraordinary 10 finalists! This year the award was given to Meryem Abdulrazzak from Epping Secondary College for always interacting with mentor Harrison and her continuous efforts to improve her schoolwork. Joint winner eMentee Hamish Meddings from Maffra Secondary College was recognised for enthusiastically sharing his passion for engineering with eMentor Stella.

There were six Mentor Award categories in 2022. STEM Champion award winner Ella Burgun from RMIT University was recognised for her passion in promoting STEM career paths to young people. The Dedication Award went to veteran mentor Joseph Araniakulathil from Swinburne University of Technology for his ongoing commitment to the program mentoring at his old high school. Our Connection award winner Maria Martha Kapetanea from La Trobe University was celebrated for overcoming challenges faced during her placement and finding new ways to interact with her mentees. Ciara Murphy from The University of Melbourne won the Impact Award, which was proudly sponsored by Toyota. Ciara was incredibly kind and supportive during her time in the classroom and worked hard to engage every student in the class.

The Mentor Leaders Program, which is an extension of In2science and pairs mentors with STEM Industry Professionals, has its own award (kindly sponsored by Toyota) which recognises mentors that fully embraced the program. Jaidyn Gluskie from RMIT University won this award in 2022 for his commitment to the program and his inspirational mentoring relationship with STEM Professional Dennis. The final award for the night, the Regional Impact Award, is given to an outstanding eMentor and this year it went to Georgia Eleftheriou for her continued work with eMentee Ashlee. Georgia really goes above and beyond for her eMentee (even inviting Ashlee to undertake work experience in her lab!) making her a very worthy winner.

Guests at the event were treated to two amazing speeches during the night. The first, from previous Outstanding Mentee Award recipient Ashlee Davey of Galen Catholic College, had the audience giggling at Ashlee’s experiences in the program. Guests may have also teared up a little as Ashlee thanked all her supporters, including her exceptional mentor, award-winner Georgia. The final speech of the night was from Swinburne University of Technology mentor Ally Vimpany. Ally spoke of the many different types of kids she encountered in her placement at Narre Warren South P-12 College and how she made an effort to find different techniques to interact and engage with them all. Ally said, “I would recommend the program to everyone studying STEM as a way to give back and inspire school children to also pursue further education in STEM. It has been a highlight of my life meeting and teaching such fantastic kids, and I can’t wait for another semester next year.”

Following the awards presentation and speeches, guests enjoyed drinks and an array of delicacies from a grazing table in the Western Gallery. Award winners and finalists proudly posed in front of the university banners with In2science and university representatives. Networking between student, mentor, teacher and industry attendees continued well into the evening. Feedback from the night was overwhelmingly positive and we can’t wait to do it all again in 2023!

Click here to read more about the 2022 Awards

Click here to access the 2022 Awards Photo Gallery


In2science would like to thank Science Gallery Melbourne for once again hosting this fabulous event. In2science is grateful for the generous support of our Program and Awards partners: Toyota Community Trust, CSL Behring, and the Department of Education and Training Victoria.

The Mentor Leaders Program Wraps Up with an Exciting Event!

By Events, News

By Rachel Ella

At the end of 2022 we celebrated another successful year of the Mentor Leaders Program, made possible by the Toyota Community Trust, with a wrap up event at Toyota’s Corporate Offices in Port Melbourne. This program is designed to give In2science mentors who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and mentoring skills the opportunity to be matched with STEM Professional Mentors and become In2science Leaders. The STEM Professionals provide mentorship to the In2science Leaders enabling them to gain insight into STEM career pathways and life after university. In 2022 we had 19 mentor/mentee pairs that met over a period of seven months and discussed an array of topics from how to stand out in a sea of graduates, to career planning and various pathways, to resume and interview tips and tricks, and everything in between!

Guests were welcomed and the event opened by Katarina Persic, Senior Community Foundation Coordinator at Toyota. We were treated to a fascinating presentation by Helen Tower, AS&T Senior Validation Specialist at CSL Seqirus. We learnt that, pre-COVID, the processes involved in developing and producing a vaccine were completed in a linear fashion and could take anywhere from 15-20 years due to lack of funding and scientific community focus. During COVID, the worldwide focus of scientists and increased amount government funding hastened this process, explaining why we were able to receive vaccines more quickly than was previously possible. It was a captivating presentation that answered many questions around the production of the COVID vaccines.

We then heard from one of our In2science Leaders, Jaidyn Gluskie, and his STEM Professional Mentor, Dennis Damsma, Studio Engineer & Milling Manager, Product Design and Product Planning & Development at Toyota Australia. Jaidyn and Dennis were one of our most successful pairings. Together they helped Jaidyn identify a true calling for the automotive engineering industry, born from an interest in motor racing, a passion they both share. Dennis’ mentoring helped Jaidyn build confidence in himself as a person and as a budding engineer which led to a six week internship in Dennis’ team at Toyota. They were both grateful for the opportunity provided by the MLP to work together, learn from each other, and build a successful mentoring relationship that will continue into the future.

Thank you to all our STEM Professional Mentors for volunteering your time to be part of the MLP and providing essential guidance to our In2science Leaders. Planning for the 2023 program is underway and more information will be released shortly. If you are keen to be involved, please reach out to Mentor Leaders Program Coordinator Rachel Ella.

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.


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.







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 celebrates the 2021 Annual Awards at Science Gallery, Melbourne

By Awards, Events, News

The highly anticipated In2science Annual Awards was held at the Science Gallery, Melbourne to celebrate the outstanding achievements and contributions of mentors, students, teachers and schools who participated in the peer mentoring program in 2021.

Throughout 2021, In2science has supported science and maths engagement and education across 54 schools, with 187 mentor placements reaching 3,294 students in metropolitan and regional/rural Victoria. The most inspiring examples from across the program were highlighted at this special celebration.

The event was opened by In2science Program Director, Dr. Alison Every with an Acknowledgement of Country followed by a video showcasing the Mentor Experience.  The Hon. Prof. John Brumby AO was invited to deliver his keynote speech, followed by Prof. Vera Ignjatović, a Director of the Toyota Community Foundation Australia Pty. Ltd. Prof. Brumby spoke of the generous support of In2science’s program and award partners, the Toyota Community Trust, Victoria’s Department of Education and Training, CSL Behring and Boeing was acknowledged, followed by a reflection of this challenging, but ultimately rewarding year. Prof. Ignjatović emphasised on the importance of small gestures in life that can spark a sense of curiosity in something new and congratulated the team on a successful launch of the Mentor Leaders Program, a new endeavour made possible with support from the Toyota Community Trust.

“Sometimes it is the small gestures that make a child or student veer in a certain direction, a respected teachers, an adult, an experience. I’m sure you can all remember a time when someone inspired you to do something different, see a subject in a whole new way or spark a sense of curiosity in something new” – Prof. Vera Ignjatović, a Director of Toyota Community Foundation Australia Pty. Ltd. and Senior Principal Research Fellow at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

The first winner of the evening was Brianne Chen of Virtual School Victoria (VSV), who, since taking the reins as In2science’s central point of contact for VSV in 2020 has hosted an incredible 30 mentor placements supporting 32 school students across Victoria. Joint Mentor Support Award winner, Lakshmi Sharma of Coburg High School has built wonderful relationships with mentors and In2science since joining the program in 2019 and continued her enthusiasm by maintaining these connections from in-person placements in Semester 1 to online with remote learning in Semester 2.


Two schools, Maffra Secondary College and Bayswater Secondary College took home awards for their school communities. Maffra Secondary College in Central Gippsland has been a committed and outstanding eMentoring partner school since the inception of the regional online mentoring model in 2016. Kristen Raine, who accepted the award on behalf of the school community has been phenomenal in her support of the program and is visibly dedicated to the success of In2science at the school. Amanda Dales received the award on behalf of Bayswater Secondary College, who have been a Swinburne University of Technology partner school since 2012 and is a school who fully embraces the range of benefits In2science and mentorship.

Ashlee Davey of Galen Catholic College, Wangaratta and Fatuma Mohamed of Mount Alexander College were joint winners as eMentoring and in-class mentees this year and enthusiastically accepted the Award from Prof Brumby. An inspiring speech from fellow mentee, Year 9 student from Virtual School Victoria and previous In2science award winner, Alex Zavros-Orr followed, where he detailed his experience with 4 science mentors from a diverse range of science backgrounds over the last 4 semesters.

Lastly, the Mentor Awards were presented. Five outstanding mentors representing each of the In2science partner universities were invited to the stage to be congratulated. The mentors of In2science “are truly the heart and soul” of the peer mentoring program. It is their commitment and enthusiasm that makes the difference to secondary school students. Patrick Taylor from RMIT University received the Boeing-sponsored STEM Champion award for his dedication in the online space during remote learning. Patrick co-facilitated computer science workshops and trained other mentors to do the same while also sharing his education journey in computational chemistry with multiple schools online.


John Seymour from Swinburne University of Technology won the Impact Award due to his dedication to mentoring and professional development since starting with In2science in 2019. John participated in eMentoring as well as in-class mentoring and has always shown detailed preparation and facilitation in supporting students to make a “sincere and valued impact.”

Toyota Community Trust sponsored the next two awards, with La Trobe University’s Lily Kenchington-Evans and The University of Melbourne’s Stella Ulm receiving the Dedication and Mentor Leader Awards, respectively. Lily has been an In2science mentor for four years and has always been a “shining example of dedication” through her work with many year levels at a variety of schools in Victoria. Stella Ulm has shown exceptional leadership skills during her 2 years as an In2science eMentor and, after being chosen to take part in the Toyota Community Trust-supported Mentor Leaders program, further demonstrated her outstanding commitment, especially supporting young women in STEM. During her time as a Mentor Leader, Stella engaged with multiple In2science placements through guest speaker sessions and facilitating career discussions.

Madeline Tomkins from La Trobe University took home the Regional Impact award for making an exceptionally positive impact on regional and rural students in In2science’s eMentoring program. Madeline frequently requested multiple placements and has been an extremely enthusiastic, reliable, and dedicated mentor since joining the program in 2020.

Finally, RMIT University mentor, Saumaya Fernando was invited to share her experiences of volunteering with In2science. Saumaya reflected on her motivations for joining the program, what inspired her to undertake a science degree and some notable memories of her time in the classroom. Most of all, as she recounted her experience as a mentor, she is grateful to be “the biggest nerd in the room and have someone look at (her) in wonder”.

The evening finished with good conversation over refreshments among the inspiring artworks of the Science Gallery, Melbourne, the atmosphere feeling all the more electric as all attendees embraced the opportunity to connect with others in person. Despite the challenges of 2021, In2science’s success continues to be reflected through the hard work of its mentors, teachers, schools and government and industry supporters.

Click here to read more about the 2021 Awards

Click here to access the 2021 Awards Photo Gallery

In2science is grateful for the generous support of our Program and Awards partners, Toyota Community Trust, CSL Behring, Selby Scientific Foundation, Boeing and the Department of Education and Training, Victoria.