Leanne believes in a community where everyone is invested in STEM education and growth, but the reality for her at the start of the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship Changemaker Program was that industry and schools in her community were working in isolation, NGOs had funding for STEM education which wasn’t being utilised, and only 28% of the Australian STEM workforce were women. She decided to tackle the problem head on with the goal of building an industry and school network invested in STEM education.
Leanne is in the process of building an online platform, SySTEM Connect. The aim of SySTEM Connect is to enable educators to seek STEM role models and mentors for their students, introducing students to diverse role models within the Albury/Wodonga community who they are able to relate to by social-economic-status, location and gender.
Using the industry partnerships she’s created, Leanne provided students, teachers and parents in her community with opportunities to participate in local STEM experiences.
She also set up a STEM lab at her school that enabled students involved in the program to showcase their learning from the wider local community in their school.
Leanne’s project has had a positive impact on 60 students to date with the support of 10 local industry partners and the strong support of her school.
“STEM has helped me with learning things like there is more than one type of science and it has helped me build my self-esteem towards topics in STEM and towards my dream jobs. This has helped putting information out for how things aren’t really said, like how the Corroborree Frog is one of the most endangered in the world. I think talking about STEM will help make girls work towards saving the species.”
– Ava, Year 6, Wodonga South Primary School
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 Leanne was the recipient of the $10,000 Scale Grant at the end of the first year of the program. This additional funding will be used to further develop SySTEM Connect, ensuring an even greater number of girls will be engaged in STEM learning in the Albury/Wodonga region and beyond in the future.
Like the idea?
Leanne would love your support for SySTEM Connect, 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 Leanne and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer her on in the comments below as well.
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