Virtual School Victoria recently celebrated its fifth year of partnering with In2Science, an innovative program that connects high school science and maths students with enthusiastic university students who are studying degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
VSV was one of the first schools to partner with In2Science when it launched its pilot eMentoring program in 2016.
Since then, approximately 40 VSV students have benefited from the program, including Alex and Jemima.
An enthusiastic Year 8 science student, Alex enjoys his weekly In2Science mentoring sessions.
‘It’s a lot of fun having a friend to talk to about science – someone who likes talking about science as much as me.
‘My mentor is interested in similar areas to me; biology, chemistry and bio-tech. We chat for 30 minutes a week and have great conversations about a range of topics and issues. Once we spoke about the psychology behind photos. It was interesting to learn how different colours connect with the brain and make people feel. Bright colours like yellow and green release endorphins that make people happy, while dark colors are often used in movies to express sadness or anger,’ said Alex.
Alex hopes to pursue a career in the STEM disciplines when he’s older.
‘I’d like to work in microbiology, chemistry or medicine and make a difference to people’s lives. I don’t want to see people hurt – I’m interested in coming up with cures,’ he explained.
Alex said that he would highly recommend the In2Science program to his fellow VSV students.
‘Just do it – it’s fun! You don’t always have to talk about science – you can talk about other things too – like getting ready for university, job opportunities or anything STEM,’ he said.
Another VSV student enjoying the program is Jemima who is in Year 9.
Jemima has been part of the In2Science program for over a year and is especially interested in biology.
‘I’m fascinated by plants and animals. One of the great things about In2Science is that you are paired with a mentor who has similar interests to you,’ explained Jemima.
‘Both my mentor and I really like dogs and are interested in space. Last semester my mentor and I made a presentation on what would happen if dogs lived on another planet. We had to make sure there were adequate systems for food and water. We also considered what type of space suits dogs would wear as they feel a lot through their paws.’
Jemima and her mentor talk about a range of topics and issues in their weekly zoom sessions.
‘Each week my mentor and I discuss what we’ll talk about the following week. I enjoy providing input into our sessions.’
Jemima also pointed out that her mentor has shared valuable career advice.
‘I’m a very creative person who loves science. While I don’t know what specific job I want to do when I’m older, it’s been great talking about options with her. One of the jobs she suggested is drawing diagrams for science books; this is something I had never thought about.’
Brianne Chen, a VSV science and mathematics teacher who coordinates the In2Science program, said it is common for students who participate in the program to become more engaged in STEM subjects and grow their knowledge.
‘Our partnership with In2Science has been very important in meeting the needs of VSV students who want to engage in the field of STEM. The program has increased students’ confidence and enthusiasm in these disciplines,’ she said.
If you are interested in finding out more about In2Science, please visit In2Science’s website or email Brianne Chen at [email protected]
In2Science is funded by the Victorian Government through the Strategic Partnerships and Student Mentoring Grants Programs and In2science partner universities.
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