One Giant Leap Australia Foundation student ambassador (Jessica, Coco, Nicola and I) were chosen to lead and present in a STEM Girl Power event for the Queensland Education Department.
We presented our journey into STEM, our motivations for wanting to pursue a career in STEM, how we incorporated STEM our daily lives and how we participated in different activities that motivated and pushed us into the right future direction.
We each created a fun and engaging presentation which was individual and personal to us. We all had a different story to share, and different ways we fell in love with STEM activities, but we all shared a common goal – to inspire young women in STEM.
We spoke about our roles as STEM leaders in our community and how we contributed, and we hope to motivate these girls from Queensland into participating in some activities of their own.
Although we created different and personal presentations, our messages all shone through. Coco’s inspirational message was to believe in yourself even when others don’t. She shared her experiences of being a female in a very male-dominated environment, which traditionally STEM used to be, but now we are progressing into a future STEM industry with equality. She certainly motivated them, and even some of the presenters including me!
My presentation was mainly oriented around being an Arts student yet being able to incorporate STEM into my future career goals and aspirations. I spoke about my experiences at Space Camp, meeting the astrobiologist Michael Malaska and how I became inspired by him to pursue a career in science writing, along with making aware to the girls that you do not need to be amazing at STEM topics to love STEM.
All of the other girls who presented alongside me shared this same mindset, and when I was asked a question by one of the listeners on how I accessed resources to realise what I wanted to do in the future, I was touched that I was able to get someone thinking about their own potential future.
Inspiring others in turn inspires us, and Jessica made this point clear in her presentation. She spoke about helping others recognise their passion and their potentials, and hence she said that this was why she started an all-girls programming, coding and robotics team called ‘Gadget Girls’. These brilliantly talented girls are competing in the Kibo Robotics Programming Challenge, and despite facing challenges such as the distance between them, Jessica says that this motivates them even further to connect and build up their teamwork skills. Her great message was that although you may not have the skills already to take part in STEM-related activities, it is only a great opportunity to grow.
Nicola, who was our final presenter and also a member of the Gadget Girls agreed, and claimed that this team, along with activities she participated in Space Camp 2019 such as building rockets, completing space missions, learning to dive, taking part in astronomy and much more, really inspired her to consider STEM in the future.
For all of us it seemed that going on the Space Camp 2019 program organised by One Giant Leap, really had an amazing impact on our lives, and encouraged us to really step outside of our individual comfort zones.
At the end of our presentations we had hoped to motivate and encourage any girls to partake in the STEM opportunities that they may come across, and one girl reached out to us. “I have really been lacking a lot of passion lately. At school we are taking about future career options and I am very lost. Just that short talk with your girls this afternoon has already inspired me so much,” she said. Once we read this, we were all so overwhelmed with pride and happiness.
Being able to make a different to just one person was a great experience, and we completely understood her current situation having been through it all ourselves. One of the best pieces of advice that we could give to anyone who is experiencing that lack of motivation and passion is that you should put your hand up and take on every opportunity presented to you, because you will never know when an activity, a person, a fact or even an object can inspire you.
As Marie Curie said, “We must have perseverance, and above all, confidence in ourselves.”
Written by Suzana Thapa
One Giant Leap Australia Foundation Student Ambassador and Science Communicator