Professionals highlight the importance of STEM

STUDENTS at St Mary’s College have joined more than 350 schools across Australia in welcoming science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals into the classroom in celebration of National Science Week.

The STEM in Schools event saw St Mary’s College welcome Dr Anne Foppert from the CSIRO into the classroom in an effort to make STEM careers more visible and relatable by sharing work and stories with students.

Dr Foppert, whose research primarily focuses on the dynamic of large-scale ocean currents, said she was excited to speak with the students about her work.

“It’s always exciting to engage with young students and future scientists,” she 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 realising that ‘if she can do it, I can do it too’.”

St Mary’s College science coordinator Heather Omant said with the demand for STEM-related expertise in the workforce increasing, it had never been more important to ensure young people engaged with STEM subjects in Australia and that STEM professionals united 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,” she said.

Also joining the students in a range of activities on the day was Tasmanian Senator Jonathon Duniam.

“Tasmania is very fortunate to offer many exciting STEM-related career pathways through a number of world-class institutions,” Senator Duniam said.

“This included the CSIRO, the Australian Antarctic Division, the University of Tasmania, the Institute for Martine and Antarctic Studies and the Australian Maritime College.

“Every day, I encourage our future generation to continue to engage actively in STEM- related subjects.”

Caption: St Mary’s College year seven students pictured with the CSIRO’s Dr Anne Foppert and Senator for Tasmania Jonathon Duniam during the National Science Week celebrations.