Charles Sturt University Alumni Magazine
Meet Anne Geddis, School and Community Outreach Coordinator at CSU in Wangaratta. In partnership with schools, TAFE and Local Learning and Employment Networks, it’s Anne’s job to help raise student aspirations for tertiary study. She does this by exposing students to new activities and making learning both interesting and fun. While she started in her role with an open aspirationraising agenda, she said it became evident that STEM was an area in need of specific attention. “An estimated 75 per cent of jobs in the fastestgrowing industries in the next five to 10 years will need STEM skills,” Anne said. “STEM is something young people need to be aware of, and we need to improve our STEM education to increase the low uptake of students choosing STEM subjects at senior level and going into those careers.” Working in North East Victoria, where the transition rate to tertiary education is low, Anne has developed a series of events to get students excited about STEM. “We run a Food and Fibre Careers Event at The University of Melbourne’s Dookie Campus where students can choose from 12 workshops that all have a food and fibre focus, from entry-level through to university-level science. We also held a Health Forum covering a range of careers in health in June, hosted a Vex Robotics Competition last year and will again host a STEM expo in August.
“The 2016 expo had a theme of Drones, Droids and Robots and the 2017 theme was Future Earth. We deliberately run the event in Science Week and tie it to Science Week’s theme. The exhibits are all very hands-on and the students come, play and learn through doing.”
Growing aspirations Anne believes these events help demystify STEM for both students and their parents. “The whole idea is to open students’ eyes to STEM careers. This region has a low number of diploma or above qualified parents, so we’re trying to open their eyes, too, to what’s around and what the future holds. “A lot of research shows us that parents are the most influential people in making study decisions but many of them wouldn’t feel that they have the knowledge to be that influential. If we can open their eyes to the importance of STEM, I think it creates an attitude of support and understanding that we really need.”
“THE STUDENTS GET REAL HANDSON EXPERIENCES AND INFORMATION ON THE DIFFERENT PATHWAYS TO DIFFERENT CAREERS". ANNE GEDDIS