Encouraging young women to choose Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM)

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is becoming increasingly more important and underpins many industries. The STEM Sisters program aims to expose Year 10 girls to STEM and encourage STEM subject selection in senior years.

This is an ongoing project and each year we offer places to each secondary school within South Gippsland and Bass Coast.

Activities of the 2018 & 2019 program:

  • Westernport Water Investigation Project (Research Project)
  • BrainSTEM Innovation Challenge (Mentor and Research Based Project)
  • Engineers without Borders (3 Day camp at Melbourne Uni)
  • Phillip Island Seal Spotter Project (Research Project)
  • Loreal Women in Science Conference
  • STEM Education Conference Sydney
  • Inspiring Young STEM Sisters
  • Gippsland Tech School Taster Day
  • Federation University Taster Day
  • Foodbytes Challenge
  • Research with Monash Health

STEM Sister Ambassadors

STEM Sister Ambassadors are women working in STEM fields. Ambassadors can get involved in one or more activities to help mentor students.

Activities may include:

  • Attend an Inspiring Young STEM Sisters event where you will mentor students by sharing your career journey and answer questions about your career and experiences over lunch and activities. You may also like to be a guest speaker at this event.
  • Mentor students on a research project specific to your field of work. Some of our past ambassadors have mentored students on seal research, medical research and anaerobic digestion research.
  • Become a guest speaker. Some of our ambassadors have become guest speakers for events and invited to schools to speak and run activities.

What STEM Sister Ambassadors have to say...

Gemma Martin - Student: Bachelor of Biomedical Science, Deakin University

Gemma Martin

"When I was in Year 10, I passed-up on multiple opportunities to connect with bright-minds, and only now do I realise how valuable their support could have been. Networking might seem somewhat scary or unnecessary at your age, but there are so many opportunities that go unnoticed just because we did not send an email – or say hello – to someone that interested us. It will be worth it. Without networking, and without asking too many questions, I do not know where I would be ... but not here, writing this."

Despite almost throwing up during the first dissection I ever performed, science became my passion from relatively early on in high school. I would not have called myself the typical ‘science geek’ but I cannot say I never once got a bit too excited about the function of a specific enzyme, or revelled in fascination about the adaptability of our immune systems. I was always asking questions, always wanting to know the ‘big picture’ – the reasons WHY things were happening and how I could apply that knowledge to my life, or to our world. However, there were not always answers, and as I become more interested in certain aspects of science, the school curriculum became quite limiting. I found myself studying concepts I had no interest in, and others that I wanted to know in more depth. To satisfy my hunger for knowledge – what I wanted to know, not what I had to learn – I enrolled in the Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Deakin University, majoring in Infection and Immunity. Being at the mid-way point of my course, I know I made the right decision. The scope of the course matter is huge, but because of this, there are opportunities to refine your degree to explore what you are passionate about. My advice to you is to not take your education – and the knowledge and experience of those around you – for granted. If you do not understand a concept, or want to know the practical applications of a theory, just ask. If there’s something you would like to know, your teachers will help you. And reach-out. When presented with opportunities to engage with members of the broader community that are excelling in their chosen field or doing something that excites you, talk to them. When I was in Year 10, I passed-up on multiple opportunities to connect with bright-minds, and only now do I realise how valuable their support could have been. Networking might seem somewhat scary or unnecessary at your age, but there are so many opportunities that go unnoticed just because we did not send an email – or say hello – to someone that interested us. It will be worth it. Without networking, and without asking too many questions, I do not know where I would be ... but not here, writing this.

Through her involvement with the STEM Sisters program Gemma has also been requested to MC at events by our partners and schools, she has been a guest presenter and helped run science activities at special events.

Kelsie Clarke - System Engineer in rural Western Australia

Kelsie ClarkeI am a Structural Engineer by background, currently working as a System Engineer in rural Western Australia. I graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from the University of Newcastle in 2014 and have since been working in a variety of roles, including Geotechnical Engineering, Structural Engineering and Metocean (which is a combination of Meteorology and Ocean Engineering).

I am a current Board member of Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB) and was previously the President of EWB Western Australia. I have been involved with EWB for over 8 years, which has taken me across Australia and to Cambodia. I am is passionate about the pathway that humanitarian engineering offers in attracting a diverse range of people to the engineering profession.

I am an advocate of inclusion and diversity in STEM, as a mentor in women in engineering programs and I hold a Strategy and Planning role with my company’s gender equality group. I won the Emerging Talent category of the Australia Subsea Business Awards in 2016 and I was a finalist for the Western Australia Young Engineer of the Year Award in 2019.

I am a recent graduate of Homeward Bound, a ground-breaking leadership initiative, which aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our planet. The program connects women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) from around the globe through an intensive leadership course that culminated in a three-week Antarctic expedition.

Although Kelsie is based in Western Australia, she has been involved in STEM Sisters via conferencing facilities. She has been a guest speaker at the 2019 STEM Sisters project launch. She has much industry knowledge and is passionate about mentoring young women.

Dr Amy Cosby - Research Fellow, Agri-tech Education and Innovation

Amy CosbySchool of Medical and Applied Sciences Agricultural Education, Extension and Communication Cluster, Institute for Future Farming Systems, Gippsland, Victoria

Dr. Amy Cosby is a Research Fellow – Agri-tech Education and Extension at CQUniversity Australia and has a Bachelor of Agriculture/Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and a PhD in Precision Agriculture from the University of New England, NSW. She lives in South Gippsland, Victoria and with her husband own and operate a 200-cow dairy farm. Amy works with farmers, educators, researchers and industry professionals to develop innovative programs to increase the skills and knowledge of people in agri-tech tools and systems. She hopes that by building the capacity of those working in agriculture and next generation workforce this will increase the adoption on technology across the agricultural supply chain. Amy is a leading practitioner and researcher in the field of student and teacher engagement within the agricultural industry and has extensive experience in leading large projects with a wide range of partners. 

Amy currently works with educators, researchers and industry professionals to develop innovative programs to increase the skills and knowledge of teachers and students in agricultural concepts, tools and systems. Her goal is to use the knowledge derived from her research to design programs which showcase and attract the next generation agricultural workforce to the industry from diverse backgrounds. She has developed and implemented a range curriculum aligned agri-tech learning modules for university, VET and high school students.  These modules aim to showcase the scientific and digital skills required in the agricultural industry to attract and build the capacity of the next generation workforce. This research aims to demonstrate that by exposing young people to agri-tech from an early age this will increase the adoption on technology across the agricultural supply chain as when these young people enter the workforce as they will be confident and skilled in the use of agri-tech.

Dr Cosby has worked with STEM Sisters through the BrainSTEM Research Project and has been a guest speaker at STEM Sisters events. She also works closely with partners and local schools to run agri-tech education programs in schools.

STEM Sisters success stories

EWB-Challenge

EWB High School Innovation Challenge 2017

kisoc-pd

KISOC Professional Development 2 Day Workshop

STEM-Sisters-Launch

STEM Sisters Project Launch