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Podcast celebrates Women in Science!

By News, Profiles

In2science is excited to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11 February) with the release of a Women in Science podcast by Deakin University, featuring two of our amazing In2science mentors, Brooke Jensen and Zoe Brittain. Listen to them discuss their STEM journeys and the importance of having strong female role models with Tordy Rowe, Deakin’s In2science Program Coordinator. Our In2science mentors are inspiring examples of women in science leadership roles, sharing their enthusiasm and passion for STEM with secondary school students.

Click here to listen!

Celebrating STEM with Ngarri Primary School

By News, Profiles

By Tordy Rowe


Although at In2science we predominantly work with secondary schools and their students, we are strong supporters of engagement with STEM at all ages. On Wednesday August 16, as part of National Science Week, In2science had the privilege of attending Ngarri Primary School’s STEM Celebration Afternoon. Deakin University mentors Jolene Rosca, a Bachelor of Psychological Science student, and Vaijayanti Kelkar, studying a Bachelor of Forensic Science and Bachelor of Criminology, represented In2science as exciting examples of what STEM can look like after school.


Jolene and Vaijayanti, both current In2science mentors at Matthew Flinders Girls Secondary College, shared their stories with the gathered families before leading activities in forensic science and statistics. Vaijayanti’s forensic activity proved very popular, with students eagerly comparing their fingerprints to their parents’ and looking for similarities. Jolene shared a maths card trick with students, to much disbelief, until she explained and taught the statistical concepts behind it. Every family opted to engage in their activities, allowing both mentors to showcase their enthusiasm and knowledge about STEM and its endless possibilities.


As Jolene put it, “It was definitely a different experience, but seeing the students excited about the STEM activities was very heart-warming. It made me even more enthusiastic about studying my degree. Having the opportunity to inspire these students was very fulfilling, and I would love the opportunity to do it again.” In2science would like to thank Brittney and Ngarri Primary School for the opportunity to engage with the attending families, and we hope that we have inspired more school students to continue to study STEM.

In2science Mentors Share their Wisdom with Student Ambassadors

By News, Profiles

At In2science, we love to provide opportunities for our mentors to go beyond the traditional structure of our program and are always looking for new ways to give back to the community. On Monday August 21, three of our outstanding mentors shared stories of their experiences at university with participants in the Student Ambassador program at Banyule Nillumbik Tech School in Greensborough. In2science was honoured to be invited to the Tech School’s Ambassador Day, and jumped at the chance to engage with the 41 year 7 to 10 students from the participating partner schools.


Rachel Ella, past mentor and current In2science Program Coordinator, opened the session by discussing the winding pathway she has taken to arrive at her degree, a Bachelor of Science majoring in Maths and Chemistry. Rachel’s engaging and humorous presentation described the many different paths she has followed and how they have led to her pursuing her dream of secondary school teaching. Rachel’s key message was that journeys in life almost never go straight from A to B. It is important to embrace all the twists and turns you encounter along the way as you head towards your end goal (which might also change!).


The next presenter was Vincent Cutugno, Bachelor of Psychological Science student at La Trobe University and mentor at Templestowe College. Vincent spoke openly about struggling to work out what he wanted to do in his future, and how he sought advice from lots of different places – friends, family, even online quizzes – before discovering his passion for psychology. Vincent’s advice for the students was that once they get to university it is vital they are prepared to take responsibility for their own learning, and to explore their options if they are not sure what to study.


Joshua Watkins, who is mentoring at Williamstown High School while studying a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Deakin University, had some fascinating insights on the challenges he faced when starting university in Australia after attending high school in Canada. He also spoke about how he created his own opportunities, such as undertaking an internship with CSIRO, while completing his degree. Joshua’s message to the students was that university can be daunting until you ‘find your people’ and build strong connections and support networks, which will make the experience even more enjoyable.


During the Q&A session, the Student Ambassadors had some incredibly insightful and thoughtful questions for the presenters. We were all extremely impressed by the consideration these young adults are giving to their future study and careers. We hope they found our advice – such as volunteering to gain experience – useful, and we are sure they will all make the most of forthcoming opportunities. In2science would like to thank Scott, Kayla, Maria and Anastasia from the Banyule Nillumbik Tech School for inviting us to their Ambassador Day. We wish the Student Ambassadors all the best for their futures, and we can’t wait to return to inspire more students to follow their passions.

Is it a dog? Is it a seal? No, it’s Comet the eel!

By News, Profiles

By Rachel Ella


Templestowe College is a long-term supporter of the In2science program and offers our mentors amazing experiences. This semester one of our mentors was part of the year 8/9 Zoology class. The students in this class work with the animals they have living on campus… yes, that’s right… ‘lions and tigers and bears, oh my!’ Well, not quite – but lizards, snakes, fish, birds, and so much more! On a recent site visit, I was lucky enough to have a tour of the reptile program. These animals are housed in the classroom where the students have their lessons, how cool is that! I also got taken to the fish and eel enclosures where some of the students introduced me to their eel, Comet, and they showed me how they had trained Comet to swim through a hoop and touch his nose on a ball!


Comet’s training program was summarised by one of his student trainers: “In Zoology once a week we get to pay a visit to the fish program’s eel, Comet, to train him. When we train him, we use positive reinforcement to encourage him to swim through the ring like we’re currently doing. He’s come a long way since we first started training him – from simply bumping a bright ping-pong ball on the nose, to swimming through a ring effortlessly. Training Comet usually takes only two, sometimes three people – one holds the ring with the ping-pong ball behind it for him to swim through and bump his nose on, a second person to flash a torch into Comet’s tank to tell him he did what we wanted, and the third to feed Comet his fishy reward, and help him affiliate doing these tricks with snacks.”


We would like to thank Templestowe College and their teaching staff for their continued support of the In2science program. Templestowe College and all of our participating schools are the backbone of our program. Without your support our mentors could not inspire the next generation of STEM superstars!

When opportunity knocks – a mentoring success story!

By News, Profiles

By Rachel Ella

The story begins with Jaidyn, a Bachelor of Engineering student at RMIT University, who joined In2science in 2021 after meeting Will, the RMIT Program Coordinator at the time, at an online engineering expo. Jaidyn was immediately attracted to the In2science program because he was fortunate enough to be mentored in years 7 and 8 by his science teacher who “seeded” his interest in STEM. Jaidyn wanted to pay this experience forward, so he applied to be an In2science mentor.

During a successful placement at South Oakleigh College Jaidyn applied to be a part of our 2022 Mentor Leaders Program (MLP). The MLP is generously supported by Toyota Community Trust, and you can find out more about the amazing work they do in this companion article by Zach Wingrave. The MLP “flips the script” and the mentor becomes the mentee of an industry STEM Professional. Over a period of 8 months our In2science mentees had the opportunity to have regular meetings with their STEM Professional mentor to discuss career paths, interview techniques, resume writing, how to stand out in a crowd, and personal branding, among many other topics. Jaidyn took this opportunity with both hands and ran with it.

Jaidyn was paired with Dennis, Studio Engineering and Milling Manager at Toyota Australia. They shared a common interest in automotive engineering and a love of motorsport. Their meetings were held at the Toyota Centre of Excellence in Altona. During their meetings Jaidyn and Dennis would discuss Jaidyn’s career pathways, dissecting Jaidyn’s complicated thoughts about his future, as well as his presentation (resume building, interview skills, etc.) and his motorsport branding – Jaidyn is a passionate amateur rally driver. At the conclusion of the MLP in November last year, Jaidyn and Dennis spoke at our Wrap-up Event, describing the success of their mentoring relationship and the positive steps Jaidyn had taken in both his career path and personal branding in his motorsport pursuits. They also announced that Jaidyn had been offered a six-week internship at Toyota Australia as a Studio Engineering Coordinator in January 2023!

During the internship Jaidyn had “involvement in hand-clay modelling, 3D surface modelling for preparation of full-scale car, part design and prototyping and project management/Toyota design principles.” This is what Dennis had to say about Jaidyn at the completion of his internship:

“After being Jaidyn’s mentor last year, I got to know him very well and was impressed with his drive and passion. With the strong support from Toyota management, we were able to offer him the experience to temporarily work as Studio Engineer inside our design studio. He got exposed to all the different areas within our team; understanding not only the design‐thinking and development process, but also how Toyota approaches problems and works closely together to solve them. This is why I joined the In2science Mentor Leaders Program ‐ to give back to young STEM students and create motivated engineering leaders with real‐world experience.”

At the end of May 2023, Jaidyn commenced a part-time contract position as a Design Engineer to assist the Toyota Design Australia team with their sustainable development goals. This is what Jaidyn had to say just prior to commencing this position, about the opportunities he has been given:

“Surely, these opportunities would not have been presented if not for the generosity of Dennis, Toyota Design Australia, and the organisation of the student-mentor and MLP programs provided by In2science. For that, I truly am grateful and will continue to enjoy the student-mentor program and work hard when I start on Monday!”

So, the moral of the story… have the confidence to take your opportunities when they come your way. They may not come around a second time!

Thank you to Toyota Australia, Katarina Persic, and the team at Toyota Community Trust for their continued support of In2science and the MLP. A big thank you to Dennis for giving his time and expertise to mentor Jaidyn as part of the MLP. And congratulations to Jaidyn for having the confidence to back himself and work hard to attain the position he now holds at Toyota Australia. We hope you are proud of your achievements… I know we certainly are!

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!


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.

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.


In2science mentor, Angus Watson tells students why it is okay to change your mind

By News, Profiles

As we go through school, we are often asked what we want to be when we grow up or what we want to study after high school. But what happens if you are not sure of the opportunities or you change your mind? These questions are reasons why Angus Watson, an Honours student in the Department of Microbiology at La Trobe University, joined the In2science mentoring program.

Angus begun his tertiary education at La Trobe University undertaking a Bachelor of Biomedicineas he “wasn’t sure of the options and was influenced by the limited resources around him”. One of the great options at university is that once you are enrolled in a course, it is relatively easy to transfer to another course! Transferring to a course in a similar field also means that you are likely to receive ‘credits’ for subjects you have previously completed, meaning you won’t have to start a new course from the start. This worked in Angus’s favour, as while there were parts of the Biomedicine course Angus enjoyed, ultimately, he felt that the course wasn’t the right fit for him and decided to transfer to a  Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Biosciences instead. “When I transferred from Biomedicine to Animal & Veterinary Biosciences, I was surprised by the similarities between the courses”, Angus says, which is an experience that led Angus to join In2science, to discuss the overlap in STEM fieldssubjects and concepts with his student.  

Angus believes that one of the factors that helped him transfer between courses were his transferrable STEM skills, including scientific writing and communication. These transferrable skills have also helped Angus in his job as a veterinary nurse by providing a pet owner with more information about parasitic diseases and their treatment. This would have been difficult to do without drawing on lectures and practical classes from his undergraduate degree. Outside of his university degree, Angus is in the process of publishing a fantasy novel. Angus explains how many of the skills have learnt throughout my STEM journey have also equipped me in progressing my writing career. 

Looking back on his STEM journey, Angus wished he had  more positive influences to guide him through high school and into university, which  also inspired him to join In2science. Whilst Angus has only been a mentor for 9 weeks, he has already made a great impression on his mentees, providing information to the students to support their learning in the classroom. Angus’s advice to all upcoming STEM students is that “the field of STEM is diverse and that with the right mentor, you can forge your own unique path in STEM”. 


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.