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!
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.