When it comes to the In2science mentoring program, the benefits go beyond the classroom.
Charlotte, a student at Maffra Secondary College, says she is ‘most definitely’ going to pursue a career in science, thanks to the program.
‘It really helped me,’ Charlotte says.
‘I liked the idea of having someone older to talk to about school, and their experience, and how they got through exams and projects…’
Her mentor Emilly Edsell is a neuroscience major at the University of Melbourne. She says it felt ‘really good’ to share her experiences and talk about things Charlotte was unsure about.
'Talking to students just a few years ahead helps make their goals to study STEM really achievable.’
By connecting university students with secondary students, the program is also helping young people build self-confidence, set goals and build skills to meet a future need.
‘I think that this program is so important, because the demand for people skilled in STEM is growing,' Emily says.
With more than 200 kilometres separating the pair, Emilly and Charlotte connect online through eMentoring.
Benefits beyond the classroom
Positive role models and mentors from the community give a huge boost to the confidence and emotional wellbeing of students needing extra support.
Emilly became a mentor to get more involved with her university and the community.
Charlotte signed up to learn more about university life, study skills and scientific concepts. But the benefits go beyond science with the program also improving social skills.
‘Interacting with someone a few years older than me helped me become less shy and more talkative,' Charlotte says.
‘The In2science program has been an amazing help for me in and outside of school, and I would encourage anyone who loves STEM to try it and see what it can offer.'
‘I like science because it is never ending, and there are always new things to discover, and things that need to be evolved to help out our planet’s population.’
The Student Mentoring Program
Connecting trained mentors from universities, TAFEs and the wider community with students, the program aims to promote school connectedness, engagement and aspiration by breaking down the barriers of disadvantage.
The program originally received funding in the 2015-16 Budget. After successfully providing more than 1,000 students with more than 500 mentors, funding is now extended to 2019.