By Tordy Rowe
Deakin University proudly joined the In2science program in 2023, with the challenge to deliver in-class STEM mentoring in Geelong and Warrnambool secondary schools using campuses outside of metropolitan Melbourne. I had the pleasure of Coordinating placements for the wonderful Deakin mentors throughout 2023 (see our smiling faces on the right!).
Across two placements in trimesters 1 and 2, Deakin students have passionately embraced the program, with 18 students placed in schools across Geelong and Warrnambool. These In2science mentors have inspired more than 440 secondary school students and shown them what they are capable of and could achieve, while building STEM study as an exciting and positive option for their future. As In2science mentor Claire put it, “The best thing about mentoring has been helping kids ‘click’ and learn things, helping them realise that science isn’t actually hard and can be fun and interesting.” In fact, 69% of secondary school students surveyed stated that their Deakin In2science mentor helped them realise that everyone can study science.
Additionally, 16 Deakin students supported regional secondary school students as eMentors, taking on the challenge to inspire and motivate through an online platform, with great success.
“The value of the In2science program at Deakin is profound, it enables us to build aspiration, impact and influence in the communities we serve – leveraging our school partnerships, alumni and student experiences. Nurturing the pipeline of talented young people in Science and STEM more broadly, enriches our university community and helps achieve gender equality objectives of our university,” said Mel Martinelli, Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
In its inaugural year, seven secondary schools in Geelong and two secondary schools in Warrnambool jumped at the opportunity to further inspire their students. An impressive 90% of teachers surveyed were highly likely to recommend the In2science program to their colleagues and would like to have another mentor in the future. As Professor Nick Birbilis, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment, noted, “In2science is pivotal in building the future of STEM in schools around Deakin campuses, and aligns with Deakin’s values and mission of providing educational experiences to all. Our mentors typify the spirit of the power of education.”
In2science and Deakin University are very much looking forward to seeing the program grow in 2024!