Communications & Media

Special workshop to inspire students into a career in STEMM

High school students were encouraged to consider future careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) at a workshop featuring Australian of the Year and neuroscientist Professor Alan Mackay-Sim, held at the University of Tasmania’s Medical Science Precinct.

Year 9 and 10 students from New Town High School, Hutchins, Collegiate and New Norfolk High School heard from Professor Mackay-Sim about a career in STEMM and his own personal experiences in the field of science.

Students also had the opportunity to spend time in small groups with University researchers who mentored them during the morning.

In what was his first STEMM workshop in Hobart, Professor Mackay-Sim told students to above all else, follow a career path they enjoyed – not one that would see them watching the clock until the end of the day.

And if they didn’t know what that was going to be – not to feel stressed – but to instead explore different possibilities.

“I think that this age is very, very formative,” Professor Mackay-Sim said.

“Some of the students have got a view about science and some of them have other views about what they want to do.

“But most of them have no idea and that’s fine- that is good in fact as they will be open to opportunities.”

Professor Mackay-Sim said the workshop was a great chance to engage with and inspire young people.

“I wanted to excite them about an opportunity that I took.  I wouldn’t expect most of them to become career scientists- because it’s a pretty hard road to row – but there were a few very interested kids in that group,” he said.

“I think too, just the example of someone who is a success and who is contributing to society in some way seemed to excite them and when I talked to them afterwards they all seemed to have gained a lot from  all the activities during the day.”

The half-day student mentoring session was organised by 2017 Tasmanian Australian of the Year Rosalie Martin and her charity Chatter Matters.

Ms Martin said the event had two key aims.

One was to inspire young people to take up STEMM careers and the second was to encourage STEMM leaders to learn the skills of communication that she said were necessary to provide more equitable career pathways.

“We are really hoping the students will walk away feeling inspired by the work and career of Professor Mackay-Sim, who is an amazing scientist and a generous person,” Ms Martin said.

“And we hope to have planted seeds of aspiration for careers in STEMM fields in the students’ minds, whether they are boys or girls.”

Published on: 18 Oct 2017 4:30pm