Photo competition celebrates girls in STEM - Education Matters Magazine
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Photo competition celebrates girls in STEM


A school photo competition that aims to encourage girls to develop an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths (STEM) careers has announced its latest winners, awarding a record of 14 prizes to girls and their schools.

The Cochlear Aurora Photo Contest is organised by the Flinders University STEM Women Branching Out group, which was initiated by Professor Maria Parappilly to support women studying STEM at Flinders University and inspire high school girls across South Australia to consider STEM futures.

To enter, students are required to submit a photo that conveys the fact that ‘Science is everywhere!’ Images need to be creative, unique and eye-catching.

The photo competition is now its fourth year and open to students across South Australia. A total of $4200 in prizes was awarded, with Molly Wild of Grant High School in Mount Gambier taking out the top prize in the Year 8-10 category for her vibrant water drop image captured mid-splash.

Jadzia Hanson of the Australian Science and Mathematics School, located at Flinders University, won the Year 11-12 top prize for a stunning magnification representation constructed through a clever assembly of shells, glass and a coastal setting.

The People’s Choice Awards category attracted over 3000 votes, with Stephanie Jones (St Dominic’s Priory) winning the Year 8-10 category and Nevie Peart (Australian Science and Maths School) winning the Year 11-12 category.

Associate Professor Parappilly, who was also recently named The Advertiser Woman of the Year Top Innovator created the state-wide competition to stimulate young women’s interest in STEM subjects and excite girls about everyday science.

She said the standard of entries for 2019 was again fantastic, reflecting the enthusiasm of entrants.

“A gender gap in the STEM fields still exists, despite community awareness that jobs of the future will be skewed towards these areas as a result of advancing technology, environmental concerns and increasing automation,” Associate Professor Parappilly said.

“Therefore, encouraging high school girls to consider STEM pathways is so important, and a creative initiative can be particularly effective in inspiring young people who may not be considering STEM to take a closer look.”

Winners of both the 2017 and 2018 competitions have gone on to study Advanced Science and Engineering Honours programs at Flinders University.

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