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Markets RDA Central West NSW

Orange female school students show off their girl power, morphing into tech superheroes!

More than 100 female students from three local Orange schools have been involved in exciting and engaging STEM Entrepreneurship workshops thanks to the support of Regional Development Australia (RDA) Central West and the STEM Industry School Partnerships Program (SISP).

The STEM Industry School Partnerships Program partnered with the Tech Girls Movement’s ‘Tech Girls are Superheroes’ program to deliver four workshops over two days. Students were provided with the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to emerge as STEM entrepreneurs and leaders. They were challenged to develop an innovative solution to everyday problems, developing their idea into a practical solution, learning business, social and technical problem solving skills.

RDA Central West CEO Sam Harma said this program was another string to the bow of the widely successful STEM Industry School Partnerships Program, which has been bringing STEM skills to local students through industry applications.

“These workshops were the first step of a 12-week program which leads to a national app presentation and pitch competition. Apps must be aimed at solving a local issue and the topics can be as varied as bullying to cyber security,” said Mr Harma.

“The program aims to provide young people with the opportunity to solve young people’s problems. It also teaches ‘design thinking’ to come up with workable solutions.

“All ideas are then documented in a business plan for participants so they have the framework needed to help take their idea from design to delivery.

“The workshop gets the creative juices flowing and helps students realise the STEM related career applications in Orange and the Central West region are only limited by their creativity and aspiration,” Mr Harma said.

Tech Girls Movement founder and presenter Dr. Jenine Beekhuyzen added, “The girls had really innovative solutions to the wide variety of problems that they identified.

“Giving them a safe space to share those ideas, and working alongside them to bring them to reality in a short amount of time gives girls both the confidence in the possibility of future STEM related careers and entrepreneurship pathways, and importantly an increased confidence in themselves and their capabilities.”

Workshop participants consisted of female students in years 4 to 6 from Clergate Primary, and years 7-10 from Orange High School and Canobolas Rural Technology High School.

Image caption 1: STEM students from Canobolas Rural Technology High School with SISP project officer, Julia Boardman (far left) and ‘Tech Girls are Superheroes’ founder and presenter Dr. Jenine Beekuyzen (centre).

Image caption 2: Students from Clergate Public School with Tech Girls are Superheroes’ founder and presenter Dr. Jenine Beekuyzen (centre).