Julia Le addressed the recent school assembly and shared her experiences at the Girl Power in STEM program held at the University of Melbourne.
Good morning everyone.
My name is Julia and I am the Middle School STEM domain leader.
Last term, I successfully applied for the University of Melbourne Girl Power in STEM program. The program is for female high school students, which hopes to promote gender parity in STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The aim of the program is to inspire female students about the exciting possibilities of STEM over the course of four years.
With over 350 applications received this year and only 30 places available, the selection process was extremely competitive. The application process consisted of completing an online application, providing a recommendation letter from a teacher and a short telephone interview.
During the Term 2 holiday break, I stayed at the University of Melbourne Parkville campus at Trinity College. The program focussed on Engineering and IT activities and hands-on interactive workshops. We also had the opportunity to learn from Engineering students and academics, and had a networking session to discuss issues in STEM. It was very inspiring to listen to their struggles and how they overcame them. They also shared their advice and insights on the industry.
There were a few highlights from this camp. I enjoyed learning about humanitarian engineering from Engineering Without Borders. They are an organisation that creates social value through engineering. We learnt how to develop a clean water system through different methods of water filtration, which is used in developing countries around the world. It made me think about how engineering can have an impact on the way we live.
Robogals ran a programming and coding workshop using Lego Mindstorm robots. We could make robots move by putting in different strings of coding. Additionally, we learnt how to use Arduino. We did some programming and uploaded the data to the circuit board to make the motors run and the lights to blink.
Over the course of four days, we were challenged to create a video to investigate the issues in STEM and to celebrate a female profile in STEM that has made a major impact in society. My group talked about the low numbers of women in STEM and how we could break barriers to overcome this.
Reflecting back on this camp, I have gained many valuable lessons and insights. I learnt that there should be a stronger emphasis on encouraging young girls to study STEM and that the career pathways in STEM are endless. I was fortunate to meet other high school students around Victoria who shared the same passion and interest as me.
I hope to use the ideas and skills that I have learnt to promote STEM here at our school. I would encourage Junior School students who have a strong passion in STEM to apply for the program as it is a fantastic opportunity to engage in STEM activities.
Next year, I will be returning to the program and will have the opportunity to complete my work experience in the Faculty of Science, which I’m very excited about.
I would like also like to thank Ms Briedis for her support throughout my application and for encouraging me to apply for this program.
Just a quick message from the Science and STEM domain leaders is that we have created a school science Instagram account for those who are interested and would like to know what is happening around the school in science. The username of the account is MGSC.SCIENCE.
Also, Science Week is coming up so please keep an eye out for announcements and posters around the school. There will be fun activities including making ice cream so please look forward to it! Thank you.
Julia Le (Year 9)