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11 March, 2021

Women in STEM inspire high school students for International Womens Day

AN ESTEEMED group of women spoke to a group of high school students across the region about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through CQUniversity Mackay on March 10.

By Andrew Sorensen

Keynote speakers Dr Samantha Fien, Ashleigh Choice, Lynelle Fallon, Kylie Rogers and event coordinator Leanne Williams. Photo: Contributed

The International women's day event was hosted by CQUniversity, initiated by the Whitsunday STEM Challenge Committee, and proudly supported by the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) to educate the local students on the study and career opportunities available in the region.

More than 100 high school students attended the event with keynote speakers Principal Engineer Robyn Birkett, Manager of the Mackay Waterfront Kylie Rogers, Environmental Principal Lorna Lockhart, Data Analyst Ashleigh Choice, CQUniversity Researcher Dr Samantha Fien, Mechanical Engineer Rebekah Rhoades and CQUniversity Medical Imaging Associate Lecturer Lynelle Fallon.

CQUniversity event coordinator and Whitsunday STEM Challenge Secretary Leanne Williams said the event aimed to encourage young women to pursue careers in science through diverse and strong STEM role models.

“We wanted to highlight the amazing and inspiring women in the local area and provide students with career information that they may never have thought of,” Ms Williams explained.

“The presenters had amazing stories from their different discipline areas, but they all shared key messages of encouragement- to never give up, be curious, challenge ideas and find your passion.”

The attendees were given an insight into the lives of women working in STEM which Year 10 student Lillian Keeble explained went a long way in changing her perceptions about STEM.

“It was motivating to hear the ups and downs of the speaker's experiences in their fields and showed even if you may not succeed at first, it is a valuable learning experience and will lead you in different directions,” Miss Keeble said.

Similarly, event attendee Abbie Mogg-Smith explained how the event opened her eyes to the multitude of career opportunities she could pursue after high school.

“The message I took away from today was that STEM isn't just what’s written on the paper, there are so many different paths and career choices in any particular industry,” Miss Mogg-Smith said.

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