1. How long have you worked at St Hilda’s School and what inspired you to become a teacher?

Most students have been at St Hilda’s School longer than I have! I stepped into my role at the beginning of 2022 coming from a public High School in Brisbane. It has been a wonderful change to be in the company of such a diverse and talented group of strong young women. I am truly impressed with the energy and enthusiasm from the students here at St Hilda’s. It is wonderful to see this every day in the School community and it makes the School an amazing learning environment! My path into teaching came after a long period working as a professional engineer. Upon arriving in Australia in 2015, I was excited to see engineering as a High School subject and decided to make use of my engineering skills and teaching degree to inspire more students to the area of STEM.

2. As Head of Technologies and Engineering, are there any specific technological trends or emerging fields that you find particularly exciting?

I am very interested that artificial intelligence (AI) has taken centre stage and grabbed news headlines around the world. While some aspects of AI have been around for years (Siri, Alexa, grammar checking), the newest generative AI such as ChatGPT has forced people to take notice. For the first time in history, we can consult and cocreate with generative AI tools to produce results in mere moments. Traditional barriers of time, skills or access to knowledge have been removed, which facilitates productivity and creative expression. With regards to AI, we are right now at an analogous point in time as the dawn of the internet in the 90’s – as a society we do not know what to expect, and there are legitimate concerns. Generative AI will force educators to rethink our curriculum and assessments, to consider the many ways that AI can be used by teachers and students. Without question, we must take notice of the technology and do our best to keep abreast of changes in that space. Another emerging technology area that will be advancing rapidly this decade will be in the science of gene therapies. Building on the knowledge of the mapped human genome, scientists will be making incredible improvements in quality of life for persons with currently untreatable illnesses, and in time will be helping all people to live longer and healthier lives.

3. Can you explain the importance of integrated STEM learning at St Hilda’s School?

The world is full of wonder and excitement, and young people naturally have a curiosity to learn. If I can share my knowledge and enthusiasm in a way that is engaging to students, that is of great satisfaction to me. With my experience working in engineering, I can reference personal connections to aspects of the curriculum to make it relevant and practical for students. My goals as a STEM teacher are twofold. First, I want students to recognise that the applications of science, mathematics and technology can be awesome and also that they are understandable. Second, I want young people to feel empowered to try, and to do! Have a go, your idea may not work first try – but try anyway. Build self-confidence. I feel it is an absolute privilege to be teaching in science and technology, and the all-girls environment at St Hilda’s is a phenomenal place to do. This way our students can be empowered and inspired to help solve the many challenges facing our world.

4. Where/who do you look to for inspiration?

Technology can be incredible, and I am inspired when people combine tech, engineering and science in new ways to solve real problems. At a more basic level - the latin root for inspire means ‘to give breath’. Things that give me breath and keep me going – my faith, my family, beautiful moments in nature, an enlightening book or great podcast, supportive friends, simple pleasures like a nice cup of coffee, words of encouragement. I think it’s about finding beauty and awe where you are, believing in yourself and others and working towards a better world through small actions.

5. What are your hobbies and interests outside of teaching?

I have a great love of music. I think it is remarkable how music can immediately influence how we feel, bring people together, and be appreciated by any one of any age from any walk of life. I love playing my guitar to relax after a long (but enjoyable) week of work. I really enjoy watching movies and have a long list of films that are on my ‘to watch’ list. I play ultimate frisbee and have gotten into tennis this year with the help of Mr. Young in the maths department. I also try keep fit by hiking and running.

6. What is your favourite aspect of working at St Hilda’s School? Is there a moment that stands out as particularly memorable?

I truly appreciate the way our school takes a holistic approach to learning and supports the different dimensions of growth of our students. Academic performance is supported and applauded, alongside the emotional and social growth of our students. There are so many curricular and extracurricular events on offer that there is never a dull moment in the calendar. I have many memories from my brief time here at St Hilda’s already – some for their fun and frivolity, others from their touching sentiment - Book Character Day, Rock the Chop, Reflection Service and the Long Farewell and the Soap Box competition. Another highlight for me is when Year 10 students Kylie and Jessie were selected for the People’s Choice Award for their ‘Turbo Air’ idea at the Mayors Technology and Innovation Awards last year. It was a privilege to mentor them through the process and a good learning experience for all involved. The culture and tradition run deep at St Hilda’s and students love being a part of it all!

This article was produced from St Hilda's Spirit Magazine 2023.