Providing girls in regional areas with greater STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and entrepreneurship opportunities might soon be a reality thanks to a USQ researcher’s “bright idea”.
Dr Lindy Orwin, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (STEAM Education with Remote Access Technology), has been selected as a finalist in the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) Lightbulb Moments Competition.
The Lightbulb Moments campaign aims to support locals with a project or an idea that has the potential to make a big difference to their community or economy.
Dr Orwin’s project is to form the Australian Girls ESTEAMME (Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, The Arts, Maths and Maker Education) Collaborative. The national organisation will bring together initiatives and services across Australia that are committed to informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in ESTEAMME.
“We've heard for a few years now how important STEM skills are, yet girls are under-represented in almost all these fields at all levels of education and in the workforce,” Dr Orwin said.
“It has been my dream to start an organisation for sharing exemplary practice and resources in engaging girls and retaining their interest in STEM.”
Dr Orwin said she was thrilled to be selected as one of 10 finalists, who each receive a project development and communications support package from RAI to help get their ideas going, as well as assistance from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.
“Having access to their mentorship and support will give the project a sound foundation in the work to increase STEM and entrepreneurship opportunities for girls in rural and remote areas,” she said.
“I look forward to creating opportunities to build the capacity of organisations to offer experiences for these girls. This will help them overcome the unique barriers they face, as well as capitalise on the unique opportunities they have.”
The national winner of the Lightbulb Moments Competition will be announced in June and will receive its own television ad and an airtime support package from PRIME7.
For more information, visit www.regionalaustralia.org.au/home/prime7.