The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures have dramatically impacted our education sector, limiting opportunities for schools to provide extra-curricular STEM experiences for their students. Despite this, due to the hard work of the In2science eMentoring team and our valued partnership with KBR, who have enthusiastically supported program during these challenging times, we have been thrilled to be able to continue to offer our Meet an Engineer program this term.
Our Meet An Engineer with In2science x KBR was piloted in 2019 to great success and provided secondary school students an opportunity to connect with young STEM professionals. Regional schools are significantly disadvantaged by distance and a lack of role models and resources. Coupled with the lack of excursions and incursions due to COVID-19 restrictions, this initiative was vital to enrich their experience with In2science.
Six enthusiastic engineers joined our eMentoring sessions to share stories and experiences about their STEM journeys. These conversations specifically explored career pathways in engineering, the importance of engineering and its contribution to society, our environment and technology, and how STEM skills set students up for a rewarding future.
The feedback from these sessions were overwhelmingly positive. Mentor Daniel said that his student loved speaking to KBR engineer Shannon, saying, “The session was fantastic! (My eMentee) loved it and learnt a lot. It is the kind of job she may be interested in one day”. Engineer Ben made such a great impression with his eMentoring group that the eMentee requested he attended another session because he had so many questions!
One school student expressed to her mentor she was unsure of what to do when finishing high school. When this eMentee finally met with engineer Dev, some of her concerns eased when Dev shared her story of being in the same position at aged 15. From an eMentor’s perspective, Vishnu said the experience “was really great. I had an opportunity to learn more about real-world experience. Thank you for giving us this wonderful opportunity”. That session was rich with conversations about what subjects to do for VCE and pathways to higher education. Interactions like this are so important because it illustrates that it is okay to not have all the answers or a solid plan when in school. Feeling lost or being unsure does not prevent you from having an rewarding STEM career, and Dev was proof of that for this student.
The magic that these KBR engineers provide for these students are that their stories are useful, and most importantly, relatable. Students could speak with professionals doing what they love. This is extremely meaningful for female students who were matched to female engineers, showing that engineering is an attainable, relevant and desirable career choice.
If you are interested in becoming an industry partner with In2science, email In2science Director Dr Alison Every ([email protected])
If you are interested in joining the In2science eMentoring program, Click here!