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.