At In2science, we love to provide opportunities for our mentors to go beyond the traditional structure of our program and are always looking for new ways to give back to the community. On Monday August 21, three of our outstanding mentors shared stories of their experiences at university with participants in the Student Ambassador program at Banyule Nillumbik Tech School in Greensborough. In2science was honoured to be invited to the Tech School’s Ambassador Day, and jumped at the chance to engage with the 41 year 7 to 10 students from the participating partner schools.
Rachel Ella, past mentor and current In2science Program Coordinator, opened the session by discussing the winding pathway she has taken to arrive at her degree, a Bachelor of Science majoring in Maths and Chemistry. Rachel’s engaging and humorous presentation described the many different paths she has followed and how they have led to her pursuing her dream of secondary school teaching. Rachel’s key message was that journeys in life almost never go straight from A to B. It is important to embrace all the twists and turns you encounter along the way as you head towards your end goal (which might also change!).
The next presenter was Vincent Cutugno, Bachelor of Psychological Science student at La Trobe University and mentor at Templestowe College. Vincent spoke openly about struggling to work out what he wanted to do in his future, and how he sought advice from lots of different places – friends, family, even online quizzes – before discovering his passion for psychology. Vincent’s advice for the students was that once they get to university it is vital they are prepared to take responsibility for their own learning, and to explore their options if they are not sure what to study.
Joshua Watkins, who is mentoring at Williamstown High School while studying a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Deakin University, had some fascinating insights on the challenges he faced when starting university in Australia after attending high school in Canada. He also spoke about how he created his own opportunities, such as undertaking an internship with CSIRO, while completing his degree. Joshua’s message to the students was that university can be daunting until you ‘find your people’ and build strong connections and support networks, which will make the experience even more enjoyable.
During the Q&A session, the Student Ambassadors had some incredibly insightful and thoughtful questions for the presenters. We were all extremely impressed by the consideration these young adults are giving to their future study and careers. We hope they found our advice – such as volunteering to gain experience – useful, and we are sure they will all make the most of forthcoming opportunities. In2science would like to thank Scott, Kayla, Maria and Anastasia from the Banyule Nillumbik Tech School for inviting us to their Ambassador Day. We wish the Student Ambassadors all the best for their futures, and we can’t wait to return to inspire more students to follow their passions.