July 2022 saw 40 young women from 20 different high schools in the greater Wellington region, attend Innovative Young Mind’s (IYM) residential programme where they got to explore the many career options open to them in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and high-end manufacturing).
Staying for five nights at Silverstream Retreat in the Hutt Valley, the young women participated in an action packed, hands-on programme which opened their eyes to a huge range of career opportunities.
From building moving robots with Jackbord, to studying the night sky in the NZ Astrobiology Network’s pop-up planetarium, to visiting Victoria University’s coastal ecology labs, this was a
Hands-on programme to give a real world experience of STEMM careers. They also heard inspiring stories from women who have built incredible careers in science and technology.
As always, Hutt Valley’s Crown Research Institutes and businesses got in behind the programme, with visits to Callaghan Innovation in Seaview and MPI’s high tech national biocontainment laboratories in Trentham. The students also enjoyed a demonstration from Grover – a robotic platform designed and built by Hutt-based Peek Robotics, participated in a high intensity, fun session on networking with JDI Coaching, and had an open discussion on the challenges of social media with Zareen from Our Kids Online.
A highlight for many was visiting Parliament where Dr Ayesha Verrall, Minister for Research, Science and Innovation, spoke at a parliamentary reception. This was generously sponsored by Hutt South MP Ginny Anderson. Dr Verrall shared her own background in science and medicine, encouraging our participants to work hard and achieve their dreams. The reception was attended by industry leaders, business supporters and representatives from the nineteen rotary clubs around the region who generously sponsored students to attend the event.
Feedback from our participants is resoundingly positive, with 100% saying they are keen to explore STEMM careers further.
Mia, a Hutt Valley participant from Hutt Valley High School, said – “IYM helped open my eyes to the huge amount of opportunities within the STEMM field and find jobs that I didn’t even know existed. This taught me to keep my options open, as science isn’t a set job, there are many different paths I could take!”
Now, with funding from 3M, IYM has the opportunity to develop a wider range of online programmes to inspire more young women into STEMM. Watch this space!