By Dr Audrey Bester
Each year In2science coordinators travel all around Victoria to deliver STEM roadshows and other outreach activities with our partner universities, including Science Delivery from The University of Melbourne and The RMIT Regional Roadshow. For my first road trip with In2science, I travelled to Bendigo with La Trobe University (LTU) Coordinator, Shobie Dorai Singam, and RMIT University Coordinator, Dr Will Sullivan, to visit LTU’s Bendigo campus, tour RMIT’s flight training school and visit Eaglehawk Secondary College. Here’s how the day unfolded…
6:30am: The sun finally started to rise. It was an early start for me. Before leaving to meet Shobie, I checked our itinerary, replied to some last-minute emails and made sure I had packed everything we needed. Of course, priority was given to road trip snacks and organising a robust, energizing playlist for Shobie and I to drink our morning coffee to as we zoomed up the Calder Freeway.
8:00am: Finally, on the road! The smell of burnt coffee from a drive-through is nostalgic for me and I bury the flavour with sugar. We spend approximately 45 minutes trying to get out of the chaos that is Melbourne rush hour.
10:20am: We arrive at La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus. First on our agenda is a meeting with Dr Rodrigo Rico Bini, a Lecturer in Exercise Physiology at the La Trobe Rural Health School. He’s enthusiastic about the program and believes that several physiology students may be interested in volunteering.
11:00am: We meet with Lecturer, Dr Sabine Wilkens, and Senior Coordinator, Ms. Siobhan Downing. Dr Sabine has been promoting In2science at LTU Bendigo to her Pharmacy students for several years and we discussed the logistics of providing training on site at LTU’s regional campuses, something In2science would love to do. Siobhan expressed that Bachelor of Biomedical Science students are keen to apply to be mentors. We are thrilled to hear this and welcome applications from all students studying STEM and to provide in-class mentors from regional campuses to local schools!
12:00pm: After saying goodbye to the LTU Bendigo Campus, we drove to the RMIT Flight Centre to meet with In2science’s RMIT University Coordinator, Dr Will Sullivan. He introduces us to aviation engagement coordinator, Dr Patrick (Pat) Griffiths who takes Shobie and I on a tour of the new flight school. RMIT’s Bendigo Flight Training site is brand new and has been in operation since mid-2019. It is an impressive facility!
We spent some time in the hangar and observed planes landing and taking off. Then, we made our way to a room with enormous screens and seating to simulate a cockpit. The simulation allows students to practise flying from any airport in the world. I resist the urge to ask Pat for a demonstration but make a mental note to do it next time. Pat informs us that In2science mentors and mentees are always welcome to organise an excursion to the flight centre for a tour, and possibly get into the air for a ride!
1:00pm: Will, Shobie and I take a short break for lunch, but we had to be quick. Students were gathering back at LTU Bendigo Campus for a pre-orientation session at which we were speaking!
1:20pm: We speak with students at the Early Connections Course Welcome event at LTU Bendigo. This event is a pre-orientation for students starting a degree at the College of Science, Health and Engineering. Most of them are starting their university journeys so are interested in applying as a mentor for In2science next year. However, there are some Honours students keen to support high school STEM students, locally, in 2020.
3:00pm: We are joined by Will and Pat Griffiths again and visit Eaglehawk Secondary College, a valued partner school and long-term supporter of In2science. The Maths Faculty were gathering for a meeting, and we joined them for an icebreaker game of Spot It! We present the In2science partner school certificate to teacher, Michelle Nevins, and her colleagues, Casey, Rebecca and Jason, who have hosted many In2science mentors over the years. One of these mentors now works at Eaglehawk SC!
Eaglehawk SC is unique because it qualifies as a regional school but is also near the LTU Bendigo campus. Consequently, they can request eMentors to support their students online and host in-class mentors to join their STEM classrooms.
4:00pm: We say our goodbyes to the teachers and Eaglehawk with promises to return and commence the drive back home to Melbourne in Olwen the Toyota Yaris.
6:30pm: Melbourne rush hour strikes again! We finally arrive back at La Trobe University, Melbourne campus. Despite the long day Shobie and I enjoyed it immensely and are feeling energised about the year ahead. It was a real privilege to meet and engage with some of the people who help facilitate, and experience benefit from, the In2science program. This certainly won’t be my last regional visit for the year, but it was a great one to start with. Spirits are high as we begin training new In2science mentor applicants in preparation for placement with secondary school students all over the state.
For more information about the In2science program Click Here.
If you would like to host a mentor as a regional school, Click Here or contact Dr Audrey Bester, eMentoring Coordinator.