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STEM Professionals in Schools

STEM Professionals in Schools is Australia's largest national skilled volunteering program for STEM professionals and classroom educators. The program facilitates flexible, ongoing partnerships between science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals and teachers in schools across Australia.

We individually match teachers and STEM professionals so they can work together to increase teachers' and students' STEM skills, knowledge and confidence through a range of activities. Each partnership is unique as the partners determine what works best for them based on their combined expertise, the curriculum or student needs, and their availability.

STEM Professionals in Schools is supported by the Australian Government Department of Education and delivered by CSIRO.

Apply now for the program.

Partnerships showcase - CSIRO STEM Professionals in Schools

[Teachers and STEM professionals on slides on screen smiling, and sharing skills]

[The CSIRO logo swirls into the centre of the screen]

[Text in centre of screen reads STEM Professionals in Schools]

[Teachers, and STEM professionals and students smiling and interacting on projects]

[One STEM professional explaining slinkies]

[Text in middle of the screen reads Partnership showcase]

[A sign on the wall labelled Warning engineer at work]

Sue being interviewed in her classroom, text on screen reads Sue O’Malley, Teacher, Trinity College]

Sue O'Malley: Shaun Voigt is our STEM professional and we are just so blessed to have him as part of our program.

[Shaun and students smiling and looking on as one student pilots a cube shaped robot to pick up coloured balls]

Coding is a very complex process. As teachers we're not professionals so we get the basics,

[The robots spins around heading for more balls]

but for what we're doing and the levels that we're working we need a much higher level.

[A spinning tube made of wire picks up the ball]

[The student piloting the robot looks pleased]

And Shaun brings that to the students.

[Shaun works with two female students on a laptop coding commands for the robot and building the circuitry]

Shaun being interviewed in a workshop, text on screen reads Shaun Voigt, Software Engineer, DST]

Shaun Voigt: I enjoy working with the kids because I love see how they grow and develop. How they seemingly are unable to solve a problem, and then with a little bit of confidence building they're able to get in and come up with really great solutions.

[Shorts of a tablet and circuitry]

Sue O'Malley: I love STEM because you get them started, you give them a concept, you give them a plan. Where they go comes from them.

[Sue works with the students on controlling their robot as it moves around the room picking up balls. One student throws new balls into the robot's field of play]

[Sue and the students nod and laugh as they watch the robot]

And some of the most incredible ideas can come from students that you thought might not be the best in your class, but their creativity, that spark can lead to an idea and you're off on a journey.

[Outside shots of the school]

[Justine and Maurice walk down a path outside their school]

Justine Mackey: We're really fortunate to have a strong partnership with Maurice as a part of the CSIRO program.

[Maurice and some students sit around a table looking at a microscope]

[Justine being interviewed in a library, text beside her reads Justine Mackey, Principal, Ivanhoe East PS]

As a PhD student Maurice is able to share his expertise with our students, and with our teachers.

[Maurice places a sample case under the microscope]

[A young boys peers into the microscope]

We don't have any access to that kind of skill or knowledge. And our students really benefit from his enthusiasm, and his knowledge, and his experience.

[Maurice chatting with a young girl who is smiling with the microscope in the foreground]

Maurice Pagnin: I see the passion in these kids' eyes and that's what motivates me to come back every time.

[Maurice being interviewed in a library, text next to him reading Maurice Pagnin, PhD candidate, Biomedical Science RMIT]

[Shot of an outside of a school, a sign reads 09, Science, Trade Training]

[Barbara stands next to a projector screen facing a classroom full of students]

Travis Gerace: Working with Barbara has most definitely helped me. Barbara is an accomplished scientist.

[Travis being interviewed in his classroom, text next to him reading Travis Gerace, Teacher, Banksia Park International High School]

She's part of the STEM industry, and her work is quite contemporary. So this has allowed me to keep my knowledge

[Barbara presents to a classroom full of smiling students]

[The heading on the projector screen reads Cost per Genome sequenced]

up to date as well. What's happening outside of the classroom?

[Barbara and several students wear lab coats as Barbara shows the students a centrifuge]

And I can use this to help my students develop their knowledge.

[Barbara shows the students a specific piece of equipment]

[One of the students makes an ah-ha face regarding the equipment]

[A shot of a large satellite dish]

[A view of the outside of a school]

[Philip showing students a close-up of the inner working of a drone on a TV screen]

Phillip Field: Their goal was to actually build and fly a drone.

[Philip points to a mechanism on the drone's body]

So they're problem-solving, they're talking to their peers. They're developing interpersonal

[Philip being interviewed in a workshop, text next to him read Phillip Field, Electrical Engineer (Retired)]

skills and working as a team. Along the way they pick up a whole load of other things they didn’t realise they'd got.

[The students check out the drone]

[A shot of a city]

[Shot of an outside of a school]

[Rebecca being interviewed in her classroom, text beside her reads Teacher, St Peter's Lutheran School]

Rebecca Geue: Our STEM professional is Dr David Bird. He is an astrophysicist who works with the Department of Defence.

[Rebecca and David work together behind a laptop planning their next lesson]

It's incredibly helpful to have an expert come in and help us.

[David points a device at a praying mantis being held by a student]

He works with me beforehand and we plan things together. It's been amazing because the kids have such a great relationship with him.

[The heat sensing camera shows the student's hand and the difference between it and the cold insect]

He's working with what we're already doing in the curriculum.

[Electrical leads are attached to two pencils suspended in a glass full of water as students look on]

[David being interviewed in a classroom, the text next to him reads Dr David Bird, Senior Research Scientist, DST]

Dr David Bird: The next generation needs to be able to think scientifically, needs to be able to question and analyse things.

[David points to bubbles in the glass]

If you're passionate about your line of research and you want to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals there's no better way to do it than to get involved in this program.

[A teacher pours a clear liquid over a sandy island students have constructed on a plate]

[A group of students smiles sitting behind a table covered with drones]

[A group of students work together to control a robot as it picks up balls on the ground]

[The CSIRO logo pops into the centre of the screen, underneath is written Australia's National Science Agency]

[An equation of logos is on the screen with a graduation cap representing teacher, then a plus sign adding it to a STEM professional symbolized by a molecule logo.]

[The equals symbol then connects to a gear logo representing partnership.]

[A circle graph titled Schools with different colours for different percentages on screen, Catholic being 16.3%, Government being 65.8%, Independent/Private being 16.8% and other being 1.1%]

[A map symbolizing national reach with a circle graph to one side. the text under the graph reads "with 29% in regional and remote areas.]

[On the map going clockwise NT 1.5%, QLS 20.8%, NSW 20.9%, ACT 5.9%, TAS 5.2%, VIC 23.9%, SA 8%, WA 13.8%.]

[A graph titled STEM Professionals, the circle graph showing percentages by gender with female at 43.2%, male at 56.6%, and not specified at 0.2%. The text under the graph reads note Female STEM professional representation is significantly higher than the national female STEM qualified population of 17 percent overall asterisk leading to a footnote "from the 2020 program evaluation.]

[Text on centre screen reads The STEM Professionals in Schools project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment. At the bottom of the screen is reads: The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.]

[New Screen, text reading STEM Professionals in Schools would like to thank: Shaun Voigt, Software Engineer, DST; Maurice Pagnin, PhD Candidate - Biomedical Science RMIT; Dr David Bird, Senior Research Scientist, DST; Phillip Field, Electrical Engineer (Retired)]

[New Screen text reading STEM Professionals in Schools would like to thank: Sue O'Malley and students from Trinity College; Justine Mackey and the students from Ivanhoe East Primary School; Sue Elderfield and students from Playford International College; Rebecca Geue and students from St Peter's Lutheran School; Travis Gerace and students from Banksia Park International High School]

[Fades to black]

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15 years, 15 reflections

STEM Professionals in Schools has been partnering teachers with STEM professionals to enhance STEM education around Australia for more than 15 years.

To mark the milestone of 15 years, we asked 15 program volunteers why they love to be involved.

15 Years of STEMP Widescreen 2

[Image appears of Adam Hooper talking to the camera, and text appears: Celebrating 15 years of STEM Professionals in Schools, 1. Adam Hooper, Teacher, QLD]

Adam Hooper: Our school has been involved in the CSIRO STEM Professionals in Schools Programme since its inception. The best thing about it for us is the link to real life STEM professionals who are working in our school community.

[Image changes to show Dr Andy Howe talking to the camera, and text appears:  2. Dr Andy Howe, Insect ecologist, QLD]

Dr Andy Howe: I’ve really enjoyed making my research on and passion for insects tangible for school kids.

[Image changes to show Tracey Cresnar talking to the camera, and text appears: 3. Tracey Cresnar, Teacher NSW]

Tracey Cresnar: We believe the STEM Professionals in Schools Programme really builds and broadens teachers skills, knowledge, and confidence when working with these experts.

[Image changes to show Carol Quashie-Williams talking to the camera, and text appears: 4. Carol Quashie-Williams, Agriculture/Environmental Scientist and Entomologist, ACT]

Carol Quashie-Williams: I enjoy volunteering, helping the children and the teachers to work out what to grow when, and also I help to identify pests and diseases that might affect some of the plants that they’re growing.

[Image changes to show Kate Elliot talking to the camera, and text appears: 5. Kate Elliot, Teacher, ACT]

Kate Elliot: Carol’s an invaluable person at our school. She does a lot of work with our gifted students and with all of our classes. We love you Carol and thank you for all the years that you’ve volunteered with us.

[Image changes to show Chenoa Tremblay talking to the camera, and text appears: 6. Chenoa Tremblay, Astronomer]

Chenoa Tremblay: It is hard to picture yourself doing something when you get older if you don’t see an example of their existence. So, that is why, as a female astrophysicist, I volunteer in schools and the public in general to share my knowledge.

[Image changes to show Clare Mullen talking to the camera, and text appears: 7. Clare Mullen, Meteorologist, VIC]

Clare Mullen: And we do it because we are hoping to inspire young minds.

[Image changes to show Dr Helen Cartledge talking to the camera, and text appears: Dr Helen Cartledge, Engineer, ACT]

Dr Helen Cartledge: Science can save the world and you came to this world with a mission.

[Image changes to show Ingrid Coleman talking to the camera, and then the image changes to show Mr Craig teaching a class of students, and text appears: 9. Ingrid Coleman, Teacher, TAS]

Ingrid Coleman: Pak Craig, as the students call him – because Pak means Mr – is a fluent Indonesian speaker and much of his work involved travelling around Indonesia’s islands collaborating with their marine and fisheries. So, at Lansdowne students get triple value from Pak Craig.

[Image changes to show Michele Pikunic talking to the camera, and text appears: 10. Michele Pikunic, Teacher, QLD]

Michele Pikunic: Our school has a culture that recognises and values the importance of STEM education. Being part of the CSIRO STEM Professionals in School Programme has provided this and has helped me to build my own knowledge and capabilities that I can drive home when mentoring other staff and students.

[Image changes to show Nick Mortimer talking to the camera, and text appears: 11. Nick Mortimer, Engineer WA]

Nick Mortimer: Well one time we were up on a beach near Exmouth, and we did a live video hook-up so they could see us putting satellite tags on turtles. The kids really enjoyed it and even years later now whenever I go to that school it’s, “Hey Nick, you’re the turtle guy aren’t you?”.

[Image changes to show Rachel Page talking to the camera, and text appears: 12. Rachel Page, Teacher, TAS]

Rachel Page: I’ve been involved in three STEM partnerships and they have all been fabulous. My first partner was Rob, a geologist, who had wonderful engaging activities with my Grade 5 class.

[Image changes to show students watching a geologist standing next to a car]

This included what do geologists have to do with cars.

[Image changes to show Eleanor Spencer talking to the camera, and text appears: 13. Eleanor Spencer, PhD student, TAS]

Eleanor Spencer: From an early age I was told because of my learning disability I would never be able to pursue a career in STEM. Many neurodivergent children are not as lucky and often struggle to overcome that stigma that academics is not the place for them, when in fact the opposite is true, and science sees all kinds of people and ways of thinking. Through my STEM Professionals Partnership I want to support other students with learning disabilities, and help show them that the STEM field is very much open to them as it is to anyone else.

[Image changes to show Karen Denning talking to the camera, and text appears: 14. Karen Denning, Teacher WA]

Karen Denning: And I’ve been lucky enough to have a STEM Professional, Sven, working with me in my science programme for the past four years. The children are inspired. They come up and have questions for scientist, Sven. They’re always showing me all their scientific understandings and they’re really excited about science.

[Image changes to show Sven Ouzman talking to the camera, and holding up various tools he has used, and text appears: 15. Sven Ouzman, Archaeologist and Heritage Specialist, WA]

Sven Ouzman: We’ve explored 60,000 years of science in Australia and we’ve used things like stone tools. To make a stone tool you need to understand materials, force vectors, and fracture plates, physics. And we’ve also used rock art. To make paint we have to mix binders, known as pigments and extenders, in particular ratios, chemistry.

[Image changes to show Adam talking to the camera]

Adam Hooper: It’s a great programme and I really would encourage any school who can be involved to, to get partnered up. Thank you.

[Image changes to show Clare talking to the camera]

Clare Mullen: So, happy birthday to CSIRO and the STEM Professionals in Schools Programme.

[Image changes to show Rachel talking to the camera and the webpage can be seen in front of her face, and then disappears as she continues talking to the camera]

Rachel Page: I’m grateful to the CSIRO for providing this fabulous resource to teachers and students. If you haven’t been part of it, get on board.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the CSIRO logo on a white screen, and text appears: Australia’s National Science Agency]

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