On the 30th of March, 2017, a room full of leaders in business, education, and STEM organisations gathered to hear the latest findings from Dr Vivian and Ms Chapman’s international STEM Fellowship Report. In 2016, two Barbara Cail STEM Fellowships were made available nationally, funded by the Australian Government (Office for Women, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet) and the Chief Executive Women (CEW) Ltd.
The launch was hosted by CEW at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney. After a morning breakfast and networking, Vittoria Shortt, welcomed attendees, and introduced the Minister for Employment and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash (pre-recorded video).
Belinda Gibson, Chair of CEW, project lead for the Fellowship, presented the motivation for the Fellowship, acknowledging Fellowship inspiration, Barbara Cail. Ms Gibson introduced Dr Vivian and Ms Chapman, who each presented a brief highlight of key findings and selected case studies from their international research into best practices in STEM education and engagement.
Both Dr Vivian and Ms Chapman received the Barbara Cail STEM Fellowship to each undertake 6 weeks of research individually, allowing them to travel and interview directors, researchers and leaders from across business, education sectors, STEM organisations, and government around the world. Their research took them to places such as Finland, New Zealand, Germany, the United States, and Singapore to answer the question: What are others doing around the world to engage young people, and their key influencers, in STEM careers?
The Research Fellows emphasised a key message in the report: that cultivating and establishing partnerships across our Australian STEM ecosystem, building on what we do well, is vital for enhancing STEM education in Australia. The report includes 8 key recommendations for directing future STEM strategies in Australia, and outlines strategies particular to engaging girls, and ways in which each stakeholder – whether it be business, government, education, families, or community, can play a fundamental role in STEM engagement.
The morning session included a stellar panel of prominent women in Australian business and education to speak on STEM. Panelists included Catherine Livingstone AO, Kathryn Fagg, President of Chief Executive Women, Professor Doreen Thomas, Head of the Department of Engineering at the University of Melbourne, and Vittoria Shortt, Group Executive Group Marketing and Strategy at the Commonwealth Bank, which was moderated by the engaging and enthusiastic, Bernie Hobbs.
Panel members spoke about the importance of engaging future women leaders in STEM, establishing partnerships across business, STEM organisations, education sectors, and government to drive change and change within institutions. They called on stakeholders to play their part, emphasising that everyone is responsible and that everyone has something to contribute. They urged everyone in the room to read the report.
The report was launched online, and can be downloaded from the CEW website.
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Science Week Australia (@Aus_ScienceWeek) captured some of the conversation using Storify on Twitter. View story.