STEM Career Pathways

Taking students beyond the lab during Science Week

10 August 2021

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Today the Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering (ATSE) is launching “Beyond the Lab”, a new schools engagement initiative.

It’s an exciting collaboration between ATSE’s STEM Career Pathways programs, IMNIS (Industry Mentoring Network in STEM, connecting STEM PhD students with senior industry leaders) and STELR (hands-on secondary school science and technology education).

Earlier this year 10 PhD students and early career science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals, alumni of IMNIS, were selected as “Catalysts”, and supported with skills development to become outstanding ambassadors for STEM.

Engaging with secondary school students and teachers is a key highlight of the program.

“Beyond the Lab” is a webinar series for students in Years 8 to 12 around Australia in which Catalysts will share their non-traditional career journeys.

Presenter Catriona Nguyen-Robertson wanted to be a doctor when she was in high school. Now she’s an emerging leader in immunology and science communication.

“I was still finding my way and changing my mind at uni. Even now, I’m still figuring out,” she said.

“The idea of using social media to share and communicate science certainly wasn’t around back then – what you want to do or what job you go into might not even exist yet!”

Catalyst Edith Botchway grew up in Ghana. Mathematics had been her favourite school subject and she had considered becoming an economist before deciding in university to pursue a career in neuropsychology.

“I was keenly fascinated by the human brain and all the interesting things we can learn about it. More importantly, I was inspired by how my knowledge in this field could help children in my society who had neurological conditions,” Dr Botchway said.

Now Dr Botchway is an Associate Research Fellow at Melbourne’s Deakin University.

“I love that my research contributes to improving sleep and neurophysical outcomes in children with neurodevelopmental conditions.”

ATSE Chief Executive Kylie Walker said the Academy is committed to fostering and inspiring a mobile, highly skilled STEM workforce drawn from all sectors of the community.

“We hope Beyond the Lab will spark inspiration for Australia’s high school students and help them understand the myriad exciting career paths possible through a qualification in STEM,” Ms Walker said.

“Inspiring and including a diverse future STEM workforce is crucial to growing Australia’s potential to address big and complex challenges.”

IMNIS’s Catalyst program is supported by MTPConnect’s $32 million Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry (REDI), initiative made possible by the Medical Research Future Fund.

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WEBINARS — 17, 18 and 19 August
The Beyond the Lab webinars are free, and will run during National Science Week. Secondary school teachers and students are encouraged to attend.

Registration is available here.

Tuesday 17 August 10.00-11.00am AEST

Dr Samantha Papavasiliou, Australian Taxation Office. 
Kay Myo Min, Centre for Cancer Biology, University of South Australia. 
Olumide O. Opeyemi, Queensland University of Technology.   

Wednesday 18 August 2.00-3.00pm AEST

Dr Navpreet Kaur, Senior Bioprocess Scientist, Thermo Fisher Scientific. 
Catriona Nguyen-Robertson, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne. 
Dr Greg Bass, Senior Scientist R&D, CSL.
Fatematuz Zohora, Research Engineer, QUT.   

Thursday 19 August 12.00-1.00pm AEST

Dr Nick Hong Seng Lee, Biomedical Engineer, Vaxxas. 
Dr Edith Botchway, Associate Research Fellow, Deakin University.  
Thilanka Morawakage, Project Assistant, BRACE Clinical Trial, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. 

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More ATSE Science Week activities can be found the ATSE Science Week page

More information about the Catalyst program and its participants can be found on the IMNIS website.

Media contact
Liz Foschia
0419 976 903