Grassroots approach to STEM growth at Rutherford Tech High

Women with experience in science, technology, engineering and maths industries are helping mentor students. Sven Wright reports.

A teacher talks with students at a table. A teacher talks with students at a table.
Image: Teacher Jade Bassett and students met representatives of Lockheed Martin at the school’s STEM mentoring day.

Engineering, civil construction, health, electronics, manufacturing, maritime, aerospace and academia were represented at Rutherford Technology High School’s Women in STEM Speed Mentoring event.

The day’s activities grew from the school’s recent success in the Orbispace Initiatives’ ‘Pitch for the Planet’ competition, and establishment of the Women in STEM program by teacher Jade Bassett.

Ms Bassett led students in mentoring their younger peers, sharing experiences and learning from the visiting professionals.

The program featured robotics, business modelling and enterprise skills, and culminated in the speed mentoring.

Ms Bassett said she was passionate about cultivating a sense of curiosity and innovation in young minds.

“Witnessing the remarkable success of the Women in STEM program, where students excel in honing entrepreneurial skills, professional communication, and innovative problem-solving, is truly gratifying,” she said.

“Our program is the catalyst for transforming aspiration into reality, empowering students not only to dream big, but also to turn those dreams into action.

“By actively championing gender equality in STEM industry career pathways, we are shaping a future where every aspiring mind, irrespective of gender, discovers equal opportunities to contribute significantly to the dynamic and diverse landscape of science and technology.”

The event was supported by the NSW Department of Education’s STEM Industry School Partnerships program, the Hunter Academy of STEM Excellence, and The Orbispace Initiative.

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