What do you think of when you think of water treatment? Chlorine, filtration and stinky water?

For a group of high school students, water treatment has become an inspiration for their chemistry lessons - connecting how the everyday water they drink applies to their classroom topics. And what better way to learn about water treatment than from an industry professional who works in the field!

 Kelly from City of Gold Coast shares her knowledge on water treatment as part of STEM Professionals in Schools

Welcome to the real world: Kelly, a STEM professional, putting lessons into an everyday context for students

Kelly Hopewell, a water treatment expert from the City of Gold Coast, is partnered with teacher Julie Miles at St Michael’s College in Queensland as part of STEM Professionals in Schools to bring real-life science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills and expertise into the classroom.

Connecting STEM skills to real life

As a qualified Environmental Scientist and Processing Engineer, Kelly has joined Julie and her class for practical lessons and excursions to explain how the skills she needs for her job relates to the school’s STEM subjects.

“Having an expert speak to my classes on a specialised topic has been invaluable,” explains Julie. “It brings real science into the classroom and the students can apply it to what they are learning. Having Kelly there helps me and the students understand science better.”

Creating successful pathways

In addition to connecting the school with contemporary industry practice, the partnership is having a positive effect on female participation in STEM subjects and how STEM can be applied for a future career.

“As Kelly is from the local community, the students realise that they too could aspire to a similar job and success when they graduate,” explains Julie. “I have also seen greater success in chemistry assessment results which reflects the impact of our long-term partnership.”

Julie appreciates the time Kelly spends with her and the students to improve their learning.

If you are a teacher or STEM professional, you can get involved too!

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