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St Hilda's STEM Institute

Blazing trails in STEM education

In an inspiring first for girls’ education, St Hilda’s senior students are reaping the rewards of participating in programs offered by the innovative St Hilda’s STEM Institute (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The STEM Institute, founded in 2014, provides numerous pathways that enable girls to explore and forge a career in the multi-faceted fields of STEM.

The St Hilda’s STEM Institute was established to empower young girls in the pursuit of careers in the areas of mathematics, science, engineering and technology. The number of women in these professions typicaly lags significantly behind the men.

Studies have shown that if girls are exposed to more hands-on activities that engage the girls, they will be more likely to continue on in that field. The St Hilda’s STEM Institute allows the girls to see how they can group subjects together to create a course from which they can build a career. The St Hilda’s STEM Institute is about more than structured courses the girls can take at school. We have developed links with local and international universities to enable our students to undertake tertiary courses. In addition, the school will host a regular STEM conference to help the girls who have an interest in STEM subjects to network with significant people in industry and universities, and to refine their personal interests in the academic options that are available.

The St Hilda’s STEM Institute provides mentoring opportunities for young girls to engage and interact with women already in the STEM professions through developing links with undergraduate and graduates from universities and young women in the early career stage with business and other institutions.

St Hilda’s STEM Institute engages girls through:

  • the St Hilda’s School Girls in Engineering Conference
  • an opportunity to complete university subjects in Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Coding
  • giving the girls an opportunity to attend an International Science and Engineering Summer School at the prestigious Smith College in the United States, the only all-girls ‘Ivy League’ College in the US
  • the provision of bursaries and scholarships to students who have an interest in STEM subjects and want a career in STEM professions
  • enabling the girls to attend the Queensland University of Technology STEM Camp
  • arranging mentors from universities and practicing STEM professionals
  • appointing girls to be STEM Ambassadors and helping mentor other girls within the school community
  • creating opportunities for guest STEM speakers to engage with STEM students
  • connect the girls to university courses and lecturers prior to entering the tertiary environment

Griffith University Gold Coast Partnership

St Hilda’s students are invited to undertake university studies on their own campus. This program offers the extraordinary benefit of giving students subject credits towards a degree from Griffith University Gold Coast and in most cases, early entry to their course of study. Students have the opportunity to complete two university subjects from the following selection of Griffith University subjects:

  • Griffith Chemistry
  • Griffith Physics
  • Griffith Engineering
  • Griffith Technology
  • Griffith Mathematics

Smith College in Massachusetts Partnership

St Hilda’s School has nurtured a relationship with one of the most prestigious girls’ colleges in the United States, for the benefit of our senior students. Smith College in Massachusetts has offered a number of places for our girls to participate in their Science and Engineering Summer School. Each July selected secondary school students from across the globe attend Smith College to do hands-on research with Smith faculty in the life and physical sciences and in engineering. This four-week residential program will expose our students to international experiences in engineering which will be invaluable to their future development.

STEM Scholarships

St Hilda’s STEM Institute Scholarships program is open to girls in the Middle and Senior years who are interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The prestigious Doreen Audrey Solley Engineering Scholarship is awarded to a girl who has excelled in STEM subjects including Engineering Technology. Recipients are announced on Speech Day in November each year.

Girls in Engineering Conference

A nuclear scientist, an environmental engineer, a water resources engineer and an aeronautical engineer are just some of the women speakers who were featured at Queensland’s first ‘Girls in Engineering’ conference held on Wednesday 17 June 2015. Hosted by St Hilda’s School, Gold Coast in partnership with Griffith University Gold Coast, the conference was attended by 100 secondary school girls who are studying science and engineering throughout the State.

Keynote speaker was Sarah Don, who is travelling from the United States to address the conference. St Hilda’s graduate of 2008, Sarah completed a Bachelor Science and Master of Science (Nuclear Science and Engineering) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is now working towards a PhD in Medical Physics in Radiation Oncology, is as a shift supervisor at the MIT Research Reactor and a physics assistant at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

The conference format consisted of delegates and industry mentors participating in discussions and presentations, followed by a short tram ride from St Hilda’s to Griffith University’s engineering facilities.

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