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Narrator: Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander high school students have in their interests and abilities and science, technology, engineering and mathematics, energised by ASSETS,
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the Aboriginal Summer School for Excellence in Technology and Science programme part of the indigenous STEM education project delivered by CSIRO and funded by BHP Foundation.
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ASSETS starts with an intensive nine day residential summer school for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students completing Year 10, followed by a leadership and support programme through their senior schooling and beyond.
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During the programme, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander leaders mentor students to engage with local communities through stories, dance, song and knowledge systems.
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Students work with academic and industry groups including faculties from the local universities allowing them to explore a particular area of STEM and learn more about opportunities in the field.
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Independent scientific enquiry projects provide students with an experience of conducting their own scientific investigation.
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Interwoven throughout the programme is a strong focus on personal development.
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By working in groups and getting hands on experience students gain new confidence and build valuable new networks.
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Engaging local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander scientific knowledge practitioners and community leaders creates an environment
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where students know, value and develop their cultural voices and perspectives.
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For many students this can be a life changing experience
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helping to focus their future academic and career pathways.
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An evaluation of the programme has shown that ASSET students gain a deeper understanding of cultural identity, scientific enquiry and the various STEM education and career opportunities available.
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The programme has also been shown to have achieved a substantial impact on students’ aspirations, understanding and confidence in pursuing a career in STEM.
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Surveys of ASSETS participants showed that after attending summer schools the proportion of students that intended to study in a STEM field at university increased by 18% from 61% to 79%.
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The proportion that intended to have a career in STEM increased from 51% to 76%.
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And the proportion that had a good understanding of STEM careers increased from 59% to 97%.
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If you want to learn more about the evaluation findings of this project, visit CSIRO.au/indigenous-education.
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