Inspiring students to a future in STEM
At UOW, we are committed to collaborating with high schools to increase awareness in students, particularly females, in STEM & Entrepreneurial education programs.
Australian businesses of the future will require people with STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics) skills, and those without this knowledge will likely struggle.
The festival aims to inspire students to peruse a future in STEM and the innovation ecosystem. By participating, students will be exposed to a range of hands on workshops, activities in the STEM facilities on campus such as Science Space and the Illawarra Flame House, plus entrepreneurial start-ups in iAccelerate. It will empower, educate and increase their self-confidence - preparing this next generation with the tools to succeed.
Your school has been exclusively invited to attend one of the festival days for the UOW’s free Festival of STEM & Entrepreneurship, showcasing studies and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at our Innovation Campus (IC). UOW successfully secured a Commonwealth Grant under the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) Program to develop the Festival.
The festival is designed for students in Years 7-8, providing hands-on activities within our labs and facilities, and at our start-up business incubator, iAccelerate all located on the Innovation Campus. Throughout the Festival, students will engage with and learn from STEM professional and entrepreneurial role models. Participants will leave the festival with an increase knowledge, the power tools and self-confidence to pursue careers in these fields.
The aim of the Festival of STEM & Entrepreneurship is to increase the number of students, specifically females, participating in STEM education and in the entrepreneurial innovation ecosystems. Most girls become interested in STEM at a young age. However, with a lack of female role models in a STEM or entrepreneurial related career, it is a key factor why girls did not follow a career path in this sector. This has created a gender imbalance and stereotypes. Women make up over half of our population, yet only 28% of the employed STEM-qualified Australian workforce are female. The ability to fully realise Australia’s productivity potential and innovative capability into the future will depend on ensuring a sustainable STEM skills pipeline and effectively attracting, developing and retaining women in the STEM workforce.
Festival Role Models
The Festival will deliver 50% female presenters and ambassadors as role models to connect and empower the young students. The students will be working with UOW faculty representatives who will be delivering the educational activities. There will be presentations by young Women in STEM explaining their journey from high school and the steps they took to reach the inspiring careers and research projects they have today.
Our digital STEM & Entrepreneurship festival supporters are:
- Ms Catherine Feldhausen, UOW Alumni STEM Ambassador, Director Strategy and Marketing Enablement, Asia Microsoft Services. View Catherine Feldhausen's profile.
- Mr Taj Pabari, CEO/Founder Fiftysix Creations, 17 year old entrepreneur educating students in STEM & Entrepreneurial workshops. View Taj Pabari's 60minutes story.
This is a free, fun-filled day for the students. Registration includes free return coach transportation for students attending.
Your high school has received the invitation package to attend the inaugural Festival of STEM & Entrepreneurship. In order to confirm your schools attendance we require the following from you.
Teacher Festival Checklist and Key Dates:
- High Schools’ are required to register online prior to Friday 20 October 2017 to confirm your festival exclusive day.
UOW can endeavour to accommodate your school on an alternative date throughout the festival week where places are available. If you wish to change your date, please contact the festival organiser on Melanie Hart on firstname.lastname@example.org before you register online.
- Transportation to and from your high school and the Innovation Campus is included and will be arranged based on your registration details. Each school is assigned their own bus/coach (50 students + 2 supervisors). We encourage each school to embrace this opportunity and to bring a complete group of 50 students for this excursion. Your transportation details and times for your school departure and return will be advised in your confirmation package.
- Distribute the parent consent excursion notes to the students attending. This form will be issued in the confirmation package. These permission forms are the responsibility of the teachers to have all forms completed for each student attending and submitted as a group at registration on arrival.
- Please promote this festival in your school newsletter or via your social media channels. Contact us if you need further information.
- All correspondence will be emailed to the 2 registered teachers outlining the schools festival details confirmed by early December 2017, during the last two weeks of Term 4 2017.
- Festival reminders will be sent during Term 1 2018, during weeks 1-3.
Which students should attend the festival:
- Each school is encouraged to invite 50 students from Years 7 and 8 ONLY.
- The 50 students will be divided into 2 groups of 25 for the session activities, then into smaller working groups for some activities.
- Based on the grant, the festival aim is to increase the number of girls participating in STEM in education. Therefore, we would recommend at least 50% of your students attending are females. To reflect this, the festival will have 50% female presenters and ambassadors as role models each day.
- We are encouraging attendance of students who are not familiar with or exposed to STEM and entrepreneurial opportunities. This festival program is designed to inspire and create awareness in these STEM subject areas, to help nurture these students and broaden their subject interests and selecting electives.
- We encourage teachers in the lead up to and during the festival to use their school education app (ie. Class DoJo, Edmodo) and social media channels to share photos and story board your students festival experience.
What to bring:
- Students and teachers are asked to bring their own lunches as per a normal school day. Please note that the day’s lunch break is only 30 minutes so we suggest that students do not rely on purchasing lunch on campus.
- Fresh whole fruit and water stations will be available free during the day.
- We encourage teachers in the lead up to and during the festival to use their school education app (ie. Class DoJo, Edmodo) and social media channels to share photos and story board your students festival experience. So please bring your school devise to communicate these messages.
- Teachers at the registration desk will submit their schools group collated parent consent forms. The parent consent forms will be issued in the confirmation package and will need to be submitted as a group on arrival.
- Students MUST wear closed-in shoes during the festival otherwise they may not be able to participate in some of the sessions.
- School or sport uniforms must also be worn on the day. Name badges will be provided on the day.
- A hat and sun protection is advised.
The Festival program involves a mix of hands-on STEM activities, presentations and tours delivered by key stakeholders from across the University during 2 sessions. Primarily, female mathematicians, technologists, engineers and scientists will serve as strong role models to the 2,500 Year 7-8 High School students over 5 days.
What will your festival day look like?
Buses will collect students from your high school and bring them to the Innovation Campus and return at the end of the day.
Teachers will be responsible to collect their festival packs at the registration desk and to hand in your parent consent forms for your group.
Each school will experience 4 different activities run over 2 x 90-minute sessions for groups of 25:
- 1 x Entrepreneurial activity
- 1 x STEM facility tour
- 2 x STEM workshops
Learning objectives of the activities are:
- Build teamwork
- Awareness of career and entrepreneurial options
- Increasing self-confidence, empowerment, creativity and valuing ideas in each student
- Use opportunity recognition/problem solving skills
An example of activities that will be delivered include:
- Cardboard Robots
- Earthquake and tornado proof structures
- Environmental and sustainable detectives
- Viral reality development
- 3D printing
Festival Program Overview
08:30am-09:30am: Buses arrive to campus. Registration open for teachers.
09:30am: Welcome ceremony. Message from festival supporters on what your day will look like.
10:00am-11:30am: Session 1 (90mins and includes a 10min break).
11:40am-12:00pm: UOW Women in STEM Presentation, delivered by female role models.
12:00pm-12:30pm: Lunch break. Students to bring their own lunch.
12:00pm-2:00pm: Session 2.
2:10pm-2:45pm: Closing ceremony. Message from festival supporters on key learnings from the day. Buses depart and return to high school.
View the full program (PDF)
Use your time at this festival to learn how to ask different questions, be confident in yourself and be ready to adapt to unexpected outcomes. Be okay with taking a chance, no question is a bad question, have a growth mindset.
I believe material engineering brings people together from different places to solve a problem. I’m looking forward to engaging with the students at the festival during the hands-on activities, and to inspire girls to study STEM subjects.
By exposing large groups of students to strong role models in STEM - particularly women early in their high school experience - we aim to change opinions of the subject, grow the talent pool and address the gender balance.
From suspended schoolboy to educational pioneer, Taj is passionate about inspiring children to embrace the world of creativity through technology and innovation – and living proof that anyone with determination and passion can change the world.
My aim is to educate 1,000,000 students by 2020. I’m excited for this opportunity - to be UOW’s festival ambassador and to share the importance of the STEM & Entrepreneurship message with this generation.