Learning and teaching researchers at RMIT have won a National Innovation and Science grant to develop opportunities for young women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The project team, led by Dr Patricia McLaughlin from the College of Science, Engineering and Health and Professor Mandi Berry from the School of Education, will use the funds to provide hands-on experiences exploring STEM skills in creative activities with girls from Melbourne’s north-eastern suburbs.
Student teachers and current teachers will also be coached to build their STEM skills, so the work can continue beyond the life of the project.
This project is part of a concerted, national effort to overcome cultural, institutional and organisational factors that discourage girls and women from studying STEM and choosing careers in those fields.
“Many schoolgirls don’t see themselves as needing STEM skills for their futures,” McLaughlin said.
“This project will encourage high school girls to identify themselves as STEM skill users and help them see that STEM skills are required for all 21st century careers, not just those in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
Berry said STEM skills were in high demand and would remain so into the future.
“Having these skills advantages RMIT graduates in their future careers,” said she.
The grant, from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, forms part of the $8 million Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship grant program under the National Innovation and Science Agenda.
Commencing in 2017, the project builds on RMIT’s highly successful “Making Something out of Mathematics” project, funded by the Minister for Science and Innovation in 2014/2015.
Other members of the RMIT project team include: Marc Demange, Grant Cooper, James Baglin, Kay Latham, Cerasela Tanasescu and Tasos Barkatsas.
Story: Jane Rennie