What do plastic flakes, fire engines, 3D CAD drawings, laser printing, ice cream made with liquid nitrogen, virtual reality, painted walls that turn on the lights when touched, and an anaechoic chamber have in common?

These were all part of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) experiences that 40 young women on the Innovative Young Minds (IYM) 2018 programme shared.

IYM 2018 was a fun-filled week packed with a broad range of science and technology activities showcasing the extensive range of STEM careers and opportunities in the Hutt Valley and Wellington region. We added a dash of bowling, a parliamentary reception in the Grand Hall and some networking techniques, taught by Amanda Santos, CEO of Tekron Ltd, to complete the experience.

Panels of women working in a broad range of science fields from science writing, to business management, to research to Health and Safety, answered a wide range of career questions from the students.
Throughout the week the common themes the girls heard were:
             1. Your career path won’t be linear
             2. Follow your passions
             3. We all suffer from self-doubt, but push through – BACK YOURSELF
             4. Take every opportunity that comes your way
             5. Reach out to others, find a mentor, ask for help
             6. Challenge yourself
             7. WORK HARD!

As Alexis Pritchard, Olympic Bronze medallist boxer says to the young women she trains, “Embrace courage and act fearlessly.” A message heard throughout the IYM week.

Rotary Hutt City, in partnership with Hutt City Council, through IYM are working to change girl’s perceptions of STEM careers by introducing them to the many work and study opportunities available to them.

Getting more girls into the STEM sector is a major focus. In New Zealand, women make up 64 per cent of students studying for a Bachelor of Science degree, yet less than a third of STEM jobs are held by women.

IYM is working to change this statistic!