A new tech school opened in the Banyule and Nillumbik area – the first stop for a travelling exhibition celebrating women in STEM.
Hosted at Melbourne Polytechnic's Greensborough campus, the new Banyule Nillumbik Tech School gives almost 14,000 secondary school students in Melbourne's north free access to the latest technology, industry partnerships and innovative learning programs.
The Banyule Nillumbik Tech School programs are offered free to students from 19 partner schools and will emphasise the skills needed for careers in the 21st century.
The Tech School will focus on developing student skills in scientific and technical services, healthcare and social assistance, as well as entrepreneurship.
Banyule Nillumbik Tech School will also be the inaugural host of the STEMpowered exhibition.
STEMpowered's local heroes
Touring Victoria's 10 tech schools, the exhibition will showcase some of the extraordinary achievements of Victorian women in STEM fields.
The exhibition will feature videos and artefacts, and profile women working in fields as diverse as games development, wearable tech, environmental science, cancer research, food waste, Teodgenetics, biotech, nanotechnology and mathematics
Each tech school will host a local hero. Banyule Nillumbik's local hero is engineer Teodora Raducan, who is featured in the STEMpowered exhibition.
Teodora says it's an honour to be selected to be a local hero for the Tech School and STEMpowered.
'I don't have enough words to describe how important a tech school like this is for me and for the students,' Teodora says.
'It is very important for girls to get involved in STEM because they bring a different perspective to the table.'
'I think that diversity is the key to innovation and that has to be reflected in everything from gender to cultural background.'
Montmorency Secondary College student Sarah Van Putten is one of Banyule Nilumbik Tech School's student ambassadors, chosen for her enthusiasm for STEM subjects and engineering.
She interviews Teodora in a STEMpowered short film. From their short discussion, Sarah took away the message that high school students should make broad subject and tertiary schooling selections.
'I don't have to stick with one pathway when there are so many different pathways open for me,' Sarah says.
Participating in STEMpowered helped her understand that young women have what it takes to pursue career in STEM.
'Being able to visually see and be educated about all of the remarkable opportunities that there are for females to work for or be involved in in the STEM industry is absolutely inspiring,' Sarah says.
'I encourage more girls to do what they love. All that matters in reality, is that they are passionate about what they do.'
Explore careers and bring science to life
Biotech and Koorie Voices are two programs on offer at Banyule Nillimbuk Tech School.
Developed in partnership with CSL Behring and the Committee for Melbourne, the biotech program includes: a tour of CSL Behring, a school-based scientific inquiry, and a biotech design challenge.
The program aims to teach students how biotechnology will meet the opportunities and challenges facing society.
The Koorie Voices program involves building 'wired for sound' installation works: a Coolamon (Aboriginal carrying vessel), which will deploy digital technologies to share Aboriginal stories in new ways.
As well as workspaces with specialised STEM equipment, students have access to a green screen, a spray booth, 3D modelling and a range of speciality equipment to develop industry-linked projects.
The Banyule Nillumbik Tech School is part of a $128 million investment to establish 10 Tech Schools across the state.
Tech Schools link schools, industry and tertiary providers to deliver innovative STEM learning programs based on design thinking and the use of advanced technologies.