The inaugural Mentor Leaders Program, which was rolled out in semester 2 this year, is an initiative aimed to bolster mentors’ understanding of STEM careers and develop their leadership skills by pairing them with outstanding early-career STEM Professionals from our industry partner network. To celebrate the achievements of the Mentor Leaders, the STEM Professional Mentors, and their commitment to the program, In2science hosted an end-of-program event, held at the Toyota Corporate Office in Port Melbourne. The face-to-face event provided a wonderful opportunity for like-minded STEM students and professionals to network and reflect on their participation in the program.
A major focus of the Mentor Leaders Program was to gain a deeper understanding of career pathways, and therefore, In2science invited a panel of esteemed STEM Professionals to talk about ways to navigate challenges and create opportunities in STEM graduate pathways. The invited panel members work within a diverse range of fields, including science and technology, within academic and industry settings, providing a well-rounded collection of perspectives on the topic.
Catherine Hart, a Senior Sustainability and Environmental Specialist for Toyota Motor Corporations began the discussion by describing that the STEM industry is constantly evolving, and how important it is to say yes to opportunities, even if is a bit hard or different, as you never know what will come out of it.
Next, we heard from Thilanka Morawakage, a Project Assistant at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and IMNIS catalyst. Thilanka contributed to the discussion by giving insights into how mentoring has been a very valuable experience during COVID. For Thilanka, mentorship helped her identify transferable skills that she gained from an academic education and previous jobs, such as project management.
Ivy Weng, a manufacturing graduate at CSL, spoke about her unique career pathway as a STEM graduate. Ivy reflected on how her education and training prepared her for the opportunities and challenges that arose over the past few years. Ivy also highlighted the technical and soft skills university training provides that really help you thrive in whatever career you choose to pursue.
To round off the panel discussion, Sarah Goss, an Advisory Board Member for In2science and Head of Innovation from Ericsson Australia and New Zealand, spoke about how the pandemic has accelerated the role of technology in our everyday lives. Sarah mentions that at the government, industry and societal level, tech is transforming and we won’t look back.
Overall, this event facilitated thought-provoking discussions between Mentor Leaders and STEM Professionals, providing university students with further insights into the graduate opportunities in STEM.
With the successful completion of the first Mentor Leaders Program, we would like to gratefully acknowledge the outstanding support from Toyota Community Trust, which allows In2science to continue to empower students to navigate the opportunities and demands of their STEM-based future.
We also express our sincere gratitude to our STEM Professional Mentors for generously volunteering their time to mentor our In2science mentors.
Finally, huge congratulations to our Mentor Leaders for being selected to participate in this program. by demonstrating exceptional leadership skills and for successfully completing the program.
To find out more about how Industry partnerships can support STEM engagement for secondary school students, please contact In2science Program Director, Dr Alison Every.