A new BHP funded summer school program has combined science with indigenous culture to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to seek jobs in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
The Aboriginal Summer School for Excellence in Technology and Science (ASSETS) program, funded in partnership with CSIRO’s STEM Education program, will be held over nine days in Newcastle, Townsville, and Adelaide annually.
The program allows students to reconnect with their culture by exploring ties between modern science and traditional knowledge, incorporating laboratory work with contemporary dances using indigenous dance techniques.
Ninety-eight students from around Australia participated in the most recent program, working with academics on research projects and indigenous mentors to enhance cultural identities. They also worked on group projects with their presentations presented at closing ceremonies.
One of the students, Makayla Craddock, said she aims to work in in law, despite her interest in physics and forensic science.
“I want to meet law and science halfway and figure out where that can take me,” she said.
“The summer school was amazing. I definitely felt like I grow personally and now feel more comfortable around new people. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
The students are supported during Year 11 and 12 at the end of the program.