It all started in late October, 2015.
Bernadette Albertson and I chatted about the lack of STEM aspirations in our students and community. Being passionate science teachers and loving our subjects we knew we had to do something “out of the box”. We tossed around the idea of creating a STEM Careers Expo for National Science Week 2016.
In March of 2016, I sent off the following email, hoping to hear back but not expecting too much:
From: Maree Timms
Sent: Wednesday, 30 March 2016 12:16 PM
Subject: Science Week - STEM / Careers Expo Wed Aug 17th 2016
I’ve been told you are possibly the man to assist me.
I am a science teacher at Galen Catholic College Wangaratta, and am currently organising a Science Expo for Science week at Galen Catholic College.
The theme of this years Science week is Drones, Droids and Robots – I am hoping to get “exhibitors", both local and the wider community to highlight careers and possible career pathways for STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
I love science, and want to highlight the importance of a science/maths pathway in secondary schools, and how it can lead to some pretty amazing career pathways.
City students have access to events all the time that can inspire them, Rural students tend to miss out unless their families support them in trips down to Melb etc.
I know your organisation looks at retention of students in schools and works with local organisations, I am hoping that you will be able to help us in a local context or if you have any other ideas, to help make this event a success.
I would love to get local companies / organisations / tertiary institutes and the Wangaratta Rural City Council on board to highlight what job prospects/ career pathways are available locally that have a STEM theme.
Hoping to hear from you soon,
Galen Catholic College
From this email came an amazing Partnership between NETRACKS LLEN, Charles Sturt University Wangaratta, GOTAFE and Galen Catholic College. Our success at the 2016 STEM Careers Expo saw our partnership consolidate into DTAC – Digital Technologies Advisory Committee - as we had formed such a great friendship and comraderie, we all knew that together we could all make a difference.
We went on to host the 2016 Australian VEX Robotics National Championships, here in Wangaratta and soon after that we made connections with Education Advantage when the concept of a Regional Teacher Conference was conceived.
2017, was a big year, with a number of events, including the 2017 STEM Careers Expo, The inaugural Digital Harvest Teachers Conference, 2017 Australian VEX Robotics National Championships, a Girls in STEM Program, plus a number of Science days, Health & Agricultural Careers Days, astronomy events, Robotics and Coding Holiday Programs….
2018 has seen us consolidate our program of events and also engage in more partnerships – with Borinya Community Partnerships, Cathedral College, Wangaratta High School plus Primary school reps joining the DTAC team.
We've delivered over 30 STEM Events in two years and managed to help increase our Digital Inclusion Index a full 7% since we started - we sure hit the ground running!!
We also recently were honored to receive the “Highly Commended Minister’s Award” at the Tech Diversity Awards recently. A proud moment for us all, and recognition for our hard work. We were chosen due to our “Courage, Collaboration, and Innovation.”
As 2018 is coming to a close… we are already planning 2019, with aims to create more industry links.
Watch this Space - we have some incredible things heading your way in 2019!