Empowering indigenous students within STEM and their cultural heritage

In a collaborative effort between the Woolyungah Indigenous Centre and the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, Wednesday 12 September was the pilot for K-STEM @ UOW facilitated by lecturer Jade Kennedy.

Inviting previous participants to the UOW Koori STEM Camp as Koori STEM Ambassadors and stage 3 Indigenous students from schools in the Wollongong area, the day had 60 Koori students on campus engaging with STEM. With a focus on mentoring, problem solving and empowerment, the day operated within the sports hub, and students rotated between programming, materials and environmental engineering and physics while understanding its links to indigenous knowledge.

The Koori STEM Ambassadors were given responsibility and ownership of STEM activities to teach their assigned group of primary school students. This experience gave them confidence in their own abilities and knowledge while bonding them closer together. The most special aspect of this program is the mixing of cohorts, students are expanding their network and learning from each other. The end result gives students a greater understanding of STEM, pride within their culture and a strong bond with the university.

Engagements such as these focus on building an ongoing relationship with STEM at UOW from primary school to high school, to build students capacity with these skills and to encourage them to pursue and explore the career options within this area.