Applications are now open for the next intake of students to join the world-first Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy (the Academy), which is co-managed by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.
The Academy is changing the lives of young Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander women across the country by providing them with the tools to succeed in studies and careers related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
And already superstars are emerging in the program like Sam, a young Kamilaroi woman and Year 10 student.
How a brush with a venomous snake shaped Sam’s life
Sam knows what it’s like to be one of the estimated 3,000 people bitten by venomous snakes every year in Australia.
After surviving this frightening event as a young child, it instilled Sam, who is now 15 years old, with a life-long mission; she’s hoping to one day work with venomous animals.
Sam said she is well on her way to achieving her dream, thanks to her participation with the Academy.
“I've benefited from the Academy in different ways," Sam said.
"They've provided me help with tutorship when I was having trouble with maths and I've also had the opportunity to explore different areas of STEM, in places I wouldn't have gotten if it wasn't for the Academy.
"The STEM camps that I went on introduced me to more diverse career pathways that I could take."
Kim Dyball who manages the Academy said it has a laser sharp STEM education focus, whilst recognising and celebrating Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s first scientists, first engineers, and first mathematicians.
“Academy students are inspired to dream big and create new pathways for themselves. Their Academic Coordinators facilitate journeys by creating local networks, developing peer support, nurturing interests and providing support to access various STEM opportunities,” Ms Dyball said.
“The Academy supports the young women to connect their interests and passions with a STEM career and helps them identify a pathway to that career.
"Additionally, the Academy connects the young women with Indigenous female STEM professionals, so they can learn from their lived experiences and how they overcame any challenges along the way.
"Finally, by connecting the young women to other young women with similar interests, they know they are not alone, and it helps them develop a peer support network which will become their professional support network as they build their STEM careers.
"Through actions and words, the Academy is helping these young women become the game changers and the future leaders of STEM."
Applications now open
Young Indigenous women are invited to apply for this unique program, which is designed to provide each student with individualised support from their dedicated Academic Coordinator.
It is long term support from Year 8 through to tertiary studies and into STEM careers.
It offers a catalogue of STEM camps, extension activities, networking with industry, and academic professionals, as well as a safe space for exploration of their own cultural journey.
The Academy is an Indigenous co-designed and led program. Currently, 14 of the 17 CSIRO Academy team identify as First Nations women, including those in senior leadership roles.
“Through actions and words, the Academy is breaking the stereotype of what STEM professions are and what STEM professionals look like,” Ms Dyball said.
The Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy is managed by CSIRO in partnership with Career Trackers. The Academy is funded by the National Indigenous Australians Agency.