School students are being recruited to help solve some of Australia’s greatest challenges, as STEM professionals and parliamentarians head to classrooms around the country today.

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Students at more than 300 schools from across the country will hear directly from professionals who tackle national challenges, ranging from climate change to our ageing population to food security, as part of their work in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

The annual event is part of the STEM in Schools program, run by Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, to make STEM careers more visible and relatable. 

CSIRO's Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley said Australia's future prosperity will need a workforce with high STEM literacy.

"Science creates new industries, new jobs and shapes the minds and aspirations of our future leaders," Dr Foley said.

"We can't think about science as something which is locked away in a lab; it connects and drives everything we touch and do.

"It's also pretty exciting when your work can have an enormous impact and make a difference in people's lives and around the world, which is what I love about working in science and at CSIRO."

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews MP, said studying STEM subjects could lead to a career in anything from astronomy and space science to biology and even politics.

"The skills I have acquired as an engineer have served me well, from the floor of power stations I worked in, to the floor of the House of Representatives," Minister Andrews said.

"STEM skills can be the launch-pad of many careers and will also be essential in many others, so we need to inspire all students to take up and stick with STEM subjects."

CSIRO's Director of Education and Outreach Mary Mulcahy said as the national science agency, CSIRO has a proud history of delivering innovative learning opportunities to inspire the STEM leaders of the future.

"Connecting students to real life STEM experiences is an important part of helping students see their path from the classroom to solving national challenges with their work," Ms Mulcahy said.

"STEM professionals can make subjects come to life by sharing their work and their excitement about what they do.

"We are calling for more STEM professionals and teachers to join our STEM Professionals in Schools program."

For more information about the STEM Professionals in Schools program visit

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  • A student and STEM professional conduct an experiment

    Rama Rao and Pamela Taylor at Sirius College, Melbourne, during STEM in Schools in 2017.

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  • Students participate in a science experiment

    Regina Coeli Primary School Sydney during 2017 STEM in Schools event.

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  • Primary school students and adults around a science experiment

    CSIRO Education Advisor Peter Poon teacher Mieke Roodenburg with students from Redlands Junior School at the 2017 STEM in Schools event.  ©Daniel Boud

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