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In2science Awards Night 2023 – celebrating an exciting year of growth and innovation

By 25 March 2024Awards, Events, News

What a busy and exciting year 2023 was for In2science! We welcomed new schools, new team members, and even a new university to the In2science family. We held two insightful professional development workshops on careers and inclusivity. We tried our hand at different types of mentoring with Ngarri Primary School, Banyule Nillumbik Tech School and Greenvale Secondary College. And with the generous and continued support of Toyota Community Trust we were able to run another successful year of the Mentor Leaders Program. The In2science team, along with over 170 guests, celebrated the year’s accomplishments at our annual Awards Night, held once again at the impressive Science Gallery Melbourne.


Program Director Dr Gabby Goldberg opened the ceremony with an Acknowledgement of Country and reflection on her first full year in the role. Gabby highlighted all the amazing achievements of the In2science team and participants during 2023. In2science Chair, The Hon. Prof. John Brumby AO, welcomed everyone to the event and introduced our keynote speaker, Dr Flora Hui, newly-appointed Board Director for Toyota Community Trust. Dr Hui’s speech was entertaining and enlightening as she discussed her love of science and impressive career pathway. It was an honour to have her present at our awards ceremony.


To change things up this year the awards were presented by our fabulous Program Coordinators. We began the ceremony by congratulating our joint Mentor Support Teacher Award winners, Kristen Raine from Maffra Secondary College and Michelle Sanders from Footscray High School. Kristen signed up over 30 students to the eMentoring program in 2023, and Michelle has hosted nearly 50 mentors in her time with the program – outstanding achievements from these teachers! Our joint winners for the School Engagement Award were Warragul Regional College and Warrnambool College. Both schools were new to the program in 2023 and embraced In2science and our mentors wholeheartedly. A highlight of the night was the thank you video message from the teachers at Warrnambool College, which was a lovely moment to share with our guests. This year we had an amazing 10 finalists for the Outstanding Mentee Award and we again had joint recipients, Sarah Chea from Westall Secondary College and Charlie Still from Maffra Secondary College. Sarah and Charlie were both extremely enthusiastic mentees and their mentors spoke very highly of them – two very deserving winners!


The mentor awards followed, with the addition of a new category in 2023 – the Communication Award, for a mentor who displayed skill and enthusiasm for communicating to a diverse audience. Swinburne University of Technology student Anton Guzman was the recipient of this award, for his ability to explain scientific concepts in an easy-to-understand and entertaining way. The STEM Champion Award went to new In2science mentor Joshua Watkins from Deakin University. Josh shared his passion for science with his students by taking his own microscope to the class and was always willing to speak about his experiences studying STEM. Max Marchesan from La Trobe University was the winner of the Connection Mentor Award. Max is an experienced mentor, having completed three placements, and he works hard to build a rapport with his students. Yasindu Hettiarachchi from The University of Melbourne won the Dedication Mentor Award for his commitment to helping his students see their STEM potential. The Impact Mentor Award, proudly sponsored by Toyota Community Trust, was awarded to Anthony Menna from RMIT University. Anthony’s use of science memes and Dad jokes was a big hit with his students!


The Mentor Leaders Program Award was again sponsored by Toyota Community Trust and was awarded to a mentor that fully embraced the opportunities of the program. Zoe Whitehouse from The University of Melbourne was the 2023 recipient for her engagement with her STEM Professional Mentor Tahnee. The ceremony concluded with the Regional Impact Award, which was awarded to eMentor Jessica Ovens from RMIT University, who was always very encouraging and supportive of her eMentee Mary in their sessions.


During the ceremony we heard from three amazing speakers about their experiences with the In2science program. First up was a heartwarming speech from eMentees Jemima Lockwood and Skye Speers from Ballarat High School. Jemima and Skye spoke about their mentoring sessions with eMentor Tallulah and how she helped them explore different topics in science and how to pursue a career in STEM. Our final speaker of the night was Jolene Erin Rosca, a mentor from Deakin University. Jolene delivered a wonderful speech describing her pathway in STEM and her experience of being an In2science mentor. We would like to thank these speakers for having the courage to speak in front of over 170 people. This is not an easy task, and you all did a fantastic job. We are proud of you!


At the conclusion of the ceremony, it was time to relax and enjoy some food and drinks in the Western Gallery. It was wonderful to see people from schools, universities, government, and industry networking and enjoying their time at the event. It was a perfect way to finish an energetic year at In2science and left us all looking forward to what 2024 will bring.


Click here to read more about the 2023 Awards

Click here to access the 2023 Awards Photo Gallery


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.