Our invitation to Year 10/11 students with an interest in STEM
To inspire young women to choose a career in STEM, the Bionics Institute has initiated a program to inspire high school students to study science, technology, engineering or mathematics at university.
The Bionics Institute Girls in STEM Mentoring Program has been running since 2019, when just two students from Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School joined the program. In 2023, the program expanded to 72 students from 18 schools, and the Bionics Institute aims to expand the program across Australia in the future.
Students from a range of schools are mentored by leading female scientists over a period of six months from May to October in a combination of online sessions and site visits, and there are more details below.
The Bionics Institute invites schools to nominate up to four Yr 10 or Yr 11 students, who have a strong interest in STEM subjects, to join the program each year.
If your school would like to express an interest in the program, please complete the below form so that we can contact you with details of the application process.
Hear from our program participants
Details of the Girls in STEM Mentoring Program
- In Term 1, your school selects up to four students to take part in the program and nominates a teacher to liaise with the Bionics Institute.
- The liaison teacher completes a form, providing a media consent form for each student and indicating which area of STEM the students are interested in.
- Students are allocated a mentor based on areas of interest in groups of two or four.
- Mentors communicate with their allocated students by email to arrange monthly online mentoring sessions at mutually convenient times from May to September.
- Students will be asked to gather information on a specific area of research using Google approximately once a month with the aim of increasing their knowledge over time. Initially, the information will be broad, for example hearing impairment. It will progress on to more detailed information about a specific area, for example cochlear implants. Towards the end of the program, students will be introduced to information about their mentor’s specific area of research.
- At the end of the program, each pair will present their learnings in a five-minute PowerPoint presentation at a school assembly or in class during October. Parents, peers and mentors can be invited to attend.
To learn more, take a look at our mentoring guidelines, which includes a calendar of events for the program.
Learn how the Girls in STEM Mentoring Program works
What time commitment is involved?
- Each month, from May-September, students will research one topic area on Google and write a one-page summary of their findings in dot point format.
- Mentors will arrange a 20 minute meeting each month online via Zoom or similar to discuss the summaries, give feedback and answer questions.
- Towards the end of the program, mentors will ask students to create a PowerPoint presentation based on their work and discuss real research papers.
- Students give a five-minute presentation in pairs at school assembly or in class, organised by the liaison teacher.
- The Mentors are encouraged to invite the students for a tour of their workplace as an excursion at a mutally convenient time during the program.
Feedback from the Girls in STEM Mentoring Program
Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School teacher testimonial
Our students have been involved with the Bionics Institute for several years and students have relished the opportunity of working in research science with acclaimed female mentors.
Not only have they had experience in laboratories and other research settings their mentors have given a firsthand account of a career for women in science research fields.
Mentors have provided insight all the way from undergraduate entry and experiences, through the process of applying for grants and other funding as well as presenting research findings at conferences. These insights have been invaluable for our students.
In addition, they have enhanced their communication skills, effectively and regularly communicating with their mentors and ultimately presenting their projects to a broad audience.
Former Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School student story
Tara Stewardson was one of the first participants in the inaugural program and she told us how it inspired her to pursue a career in STEM in this case study.
Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School students involved in the Girls in STEM Mentoring Program in 2021 were offered the following STEM courses for study in 2023:
- Animal and Veterinary Biosciences at La Trobe University or Charles Sturt University
- Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne
- Laws (Honours)/Biomedical Science at Monash University
- Nursing/Midwifery at Deakin University
- Physiotherapy at Victoria University or Podiatry (Honours) at La Trobe University
- Science at the University Of Melbourne.
Loreto School news article
Three students from Loreto school describe their experience of the program in this news article on the Loreto website.
Bionics Institute 2022 Girls in STEM celebration event video
The 2022 program culminated in a celebration event with inspiring guest speakers and certificates presented by a Victorian state government MP. Take a look at a recording of the event here: 2022 Girls in STEM celebration event.
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