Scientists inspire next generation of women in STEM

Published 12 December 2017

Two UNE scientists are among the mentors who have been selected to participate in Curious Minds, a six-month program aimed at high achieving girls in years 9 and 10, who have a keen interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Biomedical Science lecturer, Dr Mary McMillan, and Dr Siobhan Dennison, UNE Discovery Voyager project manager, will meet their mentees for the first time at the summer camp at the University of NSW on Thursday.

The pair will mentor the students on a variety of projects, which will then be presented at the program winter camp in July 2018.

Each year the program pairs around 60 students with female mentors who are working in STEM fields, and aims to help the students construct personal goals, grow in confidence and ability, expand their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and build scientific networks.

“It’s a great opportunity to share our experiences in science with the next generation,” Dr Dennison said.

The program particularly targets disadvantaged, rural/remote and Indigenous students.

“One of the things that attracted me to the program was that there was a focus on these under-represented groups of students,” Dr McMillan said.

“I come from a rural background myself, and I think its vitally important that we provide opportunities such as this to students in these areas, who can often be overlooked.”