Around 90 STEM professionals and a further 50 Members of Parliament visited classrooms around the nation as part of Australia’s largest volunteer STEM education program.
Open to primary and secondary school teachers and qualified STEM professionals from all organisations, the STEM Professionals in Schools event aims to bring real-world Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) into the classroom in an effort to increase student engagement and participation in STEM subjects.
Those taking part in the 2018 event include organisations such as the CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology, and Defence Science and Technology.
“Research has shown that enrolments in STEM subjects are at a 20 year low, despite projections indicating that 75 per cent of the fastest growing occupations will require STEM skills,” said CSIRO Astrophysicist, Dr Karen Lee-Waddell (pictured), who is among the scientists taking part.
“I was primary school-aged when someone first pointed the constellations out to me. All these years later I am still looking up at the night sky, only now I use Australia’s most powerful survey radio telescope. I want to show students how exciting STEM careers can be and, ideally, inspire some to follow that path.”
Students are being encouraged to learn more about different types of STEM careers by participating in a presentation by a STEM professional and undertaking activities to identify the types of STEM professionals in their own neighbourhoods.
CSIRO Education and Outreach Director Mary Mulcahy used the event to call for more STEM professionals to take up the challenge of engaging the next generation.
“STEM professionals can make subjects come to life by sharing their work and their excitement about what they do,” Ms Mulcahy said.
“We want teachers to be able to draw on the resources that STEM professionals can offer all year round, so we are calling for more STEM professionals and teachers to join our STEM Professionals in Schools program.”