The University of New England last week played host to some of Australia’s STEM professionals who gathered to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers to students from UNE and the region’s high school, teachers, careers advisors, parents, academics and members of the Armidale community.
UNE Vice-Chancellor, Professor Annabelle Duncan, opened the STEM Careers Evening introducing Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb to the audience.
Professor Chubb, a keen and vocal supporter of STEM, shared his thoughts on why it is so important that Australia nourish STEM education now to ensure our future competitiveness on the international stage.
Students also heard from:
- Dr Nikola Bowden, DNA Repair Group Leader and Cancer Institute NSW Career Development Fellow at the University of Newcastle;
- Professor Tony Haymet, Co-owner of MRV Systems, Distinguished Professor of Oceanography and Emeritus Director and Vice-Chancellor for Marine Science at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, at the University of California San Diego, USA;
- Dr Christina McGraw, Marine Chemistry Researcher and University Lecturer, University of New England;
- Ms Marion Rhodes, Development Engineer at Clarence Valley Council; and
- Dr Tara Schalk, Acting Manager Plan Ecological Performance and Assessment Manager, NSW Office of Water.
Speakers emphasised advantages such as making meaningful contributions to society, fulfilling personal development goals, travel opportunities, and the exciting and rewarding career progression that resulted from their choosing a STEM career.
Event organiser and Balancing the Equation Mentoring Program for Women in STEM (WSTEM) project officer, Nansiri Iamsuk, said the level of interaction between speakers and the audience emphasised the need to demystify STEM.
“We had questions about how to undertake studies in STEM disciplines, the type of support that is available, including mentoring, for students in those disciplines, and the various career choices currently available,” Ms Iamsuk said.
“The information provided here tonight will be of benefit to students when they decide on future study options.
“We would like to encourage everyone, women and men, to think about studying and working in STEM areas.”