Students at St Mary’s College joined more than 350 schools across Australia in welcoming science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals into their classroom recently as they kicked-off National Science Week celebrations.
Facilitated by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, the STEM in Schools event aims to make STEM careers more visible and relatable by inviting STEM professionals into the classroom to share their work and their stories with students.
STEM professionals from across CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Defence Science and Technology group took part in the initiative, with St Mary’s College welcoming Dr Annie Foppert from the CSIRO into the classroom.
Dr Foppert, whose research primarily focuses on the dynamics of large-scale ocean currents, said she enjoyed speaking with the students about her work.
“It’s always exciting to engage with young students and future scientists,” Dr Foppert said.
“I know from my own experience that meeting real people in professions that may not even be on your radar, especially at a young age, seems to somehow make it more tangible and enables you to imagine yourself in that field.
“It’s as if realizing that ‘if she can do it, I can too’.”
St Mary’s College Science coordinator, Heather Omant, said with the demand for STEM-related expertise in the workforce increasing, it’s never been more important to ensure young people engage with STEM subjects in Australia and that STEM professionals unite to engage students.
“Projects like this acknowledge the significant impact that relationships with role models and mentors, especially female, have on girls’ perceptions of their abilities to excel in science-based careers,” Mrs Omant said.
Senator for Tasmania, Senator Jonathon Duniam, also joined students in the activities, reinforcing the national importance of STEM for Australia’s future.
“Tasmania is very fortunate to offer many exciting STEM related career pathways through a number of world-class institutions, including with the CSIRO, the Australian Antarctic Division, the University of Tasmania, the Institute for Martine and Antarctic Studies and the Australian Maritime College,” Senator Duniam said.
“[On this day], and every day I encourage our future generation to continue to engage actively in STEM-related subjects.”