At the start of the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship Changemaker Program, Adele thought it was unacceptable that STEM was seemingly only for elite, specialised groups. She believes in a school where all students experience success and love learning; where all students are authors of their own learning. However, Adele’s reality at the start of the year was that there were many girls in her school who thought STEM wasn’t for them, and different ways of learning weren’t being embraced.
Adele developed EngGirls: Future Ready, a program aimed at changing the beliefs of parents, students, teachers and careers advisors regarding the importance of STEM in students’ learning to ready them for their future.
Central to EngGirls was the use of student ambassadors to change parents, teachers, careers advisors and students perceptions about the importance of STEM. Adele worked alongside a huge number of girls at her school to develop the initiative. Together they built a vision for the project, had t-shirts made for the team, developed and led a Family Science Night at their school with activities and materials promoting the importance of girls in STEM, spoke at their school assembly, wrote in the school newsletter about all things girls-in-STEM, had the local newspaper report on the initiative and the importance of the initiative, and have already started planning for 2018.
EngGirls: Future Ready has been focussed on changing the beliefs of the girls at Adele’s school regarding the importance of STEM and their capacity to lead STEM learning both now and in the future.
160 students have been involved in the EngGirls program this year and 190 Year 7, 8 and 9 students at Adele’s school have engaged in student design projects in Science. 300 people came to the Family Science Night and at information evenings all of the parents of Year 9 and 10 students have been informed of the changing job markets and the importance of STEM learning for future roles.
“Aashni began Year 9 disengaged in Science. When asked at the start of the year to be involved in the EngGirls program she wasn’t interested, but after participating in the student-led projects in class over the year her perspective changed. She signed up for the holidays Robogals project and then led the Family Science Night Ambassadors Project. She was amazing!”
The WISE Changemaker program was made possible by the generous support of the Australian Government. All WISE Changemakers had access to a $1,000 Action Grant from the Government as seed funding for their ideas, and Adele was the recipient of the $5,000 Scale Grant at the end of the first year of the program. This additional funding will be used to further develop EngGirls: Future Ready, ensuring an even greater number of girls will be engaged in STEM learning both at Adele’s school and beyond in the future.
Like the idea?
Adele would love your support for EngGirls: Future Ready, or for you to start a similar program in your school, and she’d love to hear about any ideas you have or lend a hand where she can. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch with Adele and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer her on in the comments below as well.
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