Project Magnify puts focus on STEM careers

When: 6 Dec 2022

To build aspiration in young people and provide opportunities to look closely at careers in STEM, Ardoch recently delivered two inspiring Project Magnify sessions to grade 5/6 students from four of our partners schools.

The first session took a closer look at careers in aviation at the Moorabbin Air Museum and the second focussed on the broad experiences a career in STEM can provide. Children from our partner schools listened intently and impressed the speakers with thoughtful questions. They also participated in a STEM activity.

These days are beneficial in allowing children to see beyond the surface of STEM careers, understanding the many working parts of the industry and opportunities to contribute. The speakers are able to demonstrate to them not only what they do in these careers but also what these careers allow them to do – such as travel the world, meet interesting people, and solve problems to help the planet.

Focus on aviation – Moorabbin Air Museum

 The Moorabbin Air Museum provided a wonderful backdrop to look closely at careers in aviation. Jam-packed with flying machines of all kinds, the children from St Mary’s and Keysborough Primary Schools were able to climb into cockpits, sit in a flight simulator and get up close to engines, propellers, ejector seats and more.

Speakers, Captain Victoria McFarlane and Adrianne Fleming, OAM inspired students through their own personal stories of setbacks and triumph and painted a clear picture of what it takes, and what opportunities are out there, to make it in the aviation industry.

Captain Victoria - Pilot at Project Magnify

The students learned about the incredible experiences aviation allows them to have, for example Captain Victoria flies an Airbus A319 each year to Antarctica! She talked about learning how to fly in such extreme weather conditions and how to land on ice. Victoria also shared the steps it took for her to qualify as a captain and all the exciting destinations her career has taken her, including into remote communities in Arnhem Land.

As an aviation training specialist with over 30 years’ experience Adrianne is a flight examiner, aviation educator and business owner who co-founded flight training school, Tristar Aviation. She was recognised with the Nancy Bird Walton award for the Most Noteworthy Contribution to Aviation by a Woman in Australasia and has received an Order of Australia Medal for Service to the Aviation Industry.

Growing up in an era when women were not accepted in the aviation industry, Adrianne was used to hearing people tell her “No”. But with an unquenchable passion for flight and with ultimate success, Adrianne’s message to the students was to never give up and don’t let others say you can’t do what you love.

Students also participated and competed in a STEM activity to make gliders and see which one would travel the furthest. Through experimentation and a lot of trial and error, students learned about the variables they needed to consider to fine tune their designs for the best results.

student at Project Magnify

Solving problems with STEM – Scienceworks

Always a stimulating space to celebrate all things science, from achievements, to future aspirations in the field, students from Mossfiel and Broadmeadows Primary Schools were treated to the works at Scienceworks – including a STEM activity to create a landing module and fascinating presentations by two Superstars of STEM.

Speakers, Eva Rodriguez Rodriguez and Dr Maria del Mar Quiroga presented a lively and fascinating look into the inputs and outputs of a career in STEM, introducing the students to not only a world of possibility, but also adventure!

As a telecommunications engineer Eva began her career at the European Space Agency working on satellites and other technologies. When we think about working for a space agency, the mind turns to astronauts, but Eva was able to show the students another incredibly important and fascinating role that is making a real difference. STEM presentation at Project Magnify

She explained to the students that engineers are problem solvers and part of what she does to solve problems is by looking at Earth from space, from providing real time information to manage bushfires, to bringing healthcare to remote communities, or helping farmers be better prepared to manage their resources.

As a Research Data Specialist at The University of Melbourne, Mar has had a varied career, she’s created mathematical models for the World Bank and has a PhD in computational and experimental neuroscience. Mar’s desire to travel when she was young drove her to pursue a career that would give her plenty of opportunities. She shared with the students many fascinating projects she’s worked on and how this has allowed her to live her dreams of seeing the world.

Both Eva and Mar were quick to point out that success is only the tip of the iceberg and before that came lots of self-doubt, fails, setbacks and plenty of hard work. Neither were naturally good at maths, but they learned maths was simply a puzzle that needed to be solved and they loved solving puzzles.

This curiosity and determination to figure things out has led to enriching careers in areas many young people would never have imagined. By being exposed to the many possibilities out there, Project Magnify aims to open up the world for young people to not only dream but aspire.

Interested in a Project Magnify session for your school? Learn more.