In February, In2science received a grant as part of $1 million for commitment from the Victorian government to develop new mentoring programs or expand existing ones for disadvantaged young people. This funding from Department of Education and Training (DET) will be used to enhance, accelerate and broaden the rollout of the online mentoring aspect of the program. In2science eMentoring is an innovative online mentoring program that connects secondary students in regional Victoria with eMentors studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at one of our four partner universities.
In2science has worked for 12 years with science students in disadvantaged schools in the Melbourne region with significant success. With research showing regional areas have significant unmet needs and reduced learning experiences In2science aims to inspire, motivate and mentor regional and rural students interested in studying STEM to year 12 level and beyond.
The new funding will support the employment of a dedicated eMentoring coordinator as well as the technology required to run the program effectively. It will build on key elements of the existing program, currently funded by the Federal government Australian Maths and Science Partnerships programme, by extending its reach and giving students in regional and rural secondary schools the opportunity to interact with university maths and science students. In2science will train and pair an eMentor with regional school students based on their interests, aspirations and/or competencies in science and mathematics. eMentors and students will meet digitally once a week for a 10-week placement period via a customised platform to discuss topics ranging from schoolwork to university life and study skills.
In2science eMentoring is preparing to roll out a pilot program with 3 Victorian regional schools in the first half of 2016 with plans to have 18 eMentors working across 6 regional schools in semester 2 and further growth in 2017.