International Women’s Day (IWD) Conference in 2017

At Tintern, we are pausing to recognise many amazing and inspirational women whose lives have influenced us in a positive manner. On International Women’s Day last week, Wednesday 8 March, the Girls’ Junior School acknowledged the contributions that a number of women in our community have made. Interestingly, they all work in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) careers! We invited six Mums to speak to the girls at our IWD conference. They spoke about their careers and journey to reach their goals. We split the Year 3 to 6 girls into House groups and each Mum spoke to each group in a round robin activity. We then finished off the event with a Q&A session.

Our guest Mums all had amazing STEM backgrounds – you will be fascinated to read what they do!

Dr Christie Bolch-Pang [Mum of Josie (4A) and twins Casper and Adrian (5D)] spoke about her expertise as she specialises in Paediatrics (care of children), in particular Developmental paediatrics (looking after children with developmental disabilities). She also has a “Doctor of Philosophy” (PhD)!

Dr Jessica Davies [Mum of Charlotte (4A)] studied Geomatics (features on the earth using maps) and Computer Science when she left school. She gained a PhD in location based services (apps on a mobile phone that use GPS) and now works at Netball Australia as the General Manager of IT and Business Analytics, helping them manage their computer systems and analysing data. She mentioned to the girls that some core skills she uses technical IT knowledge, critical and analytical thinking and the ability to break down a problem into smaller components.

Ms Ashley Lang [Mum of Isabel (3A) and James (1D)] works as an Environmental Engineer. She began her career by working at Melbourne’s largest water treatment plant as one of the first female engineers. She has used her engineering skills on projects all over the world (20+ countries) and now leads a team of 200 engineers and scientists who help prevent and clean up pollution in the environment.

Dr Susana Liou [Mum of Jocelyn (Y10) and Melody (5A)] trained as an Optometrist and completed a PhD at the University of Melbourne. She loves Maths and problem solving and worked at Melbourne University as an academic for 5 years doing research. She is now working at her own practice in South Yarra.

Mrs Shereen Taher [Mum of Nesreen (5A) and Lulu (3A)] was born in Kuwait and moved to New Zealand with her family in her late teens. Despite the challenges of not speaking English on arrival, she performed very well in Year 12 and trained at university as a Medical Laboratory Scientist. She has now opened her own business and makes her photographic hobby an enjoyable career.

Ms Kavitha Sadanandan [Mum of Drishya (5A)] specialised in HR Technology. She started with simple desktop applications early in her career and has now led to the latest technology of cloud solutions. She has worked with a number of big multinationals like Standard Chartered Bank, Hewlett Packard, ADECCO and now ANZ bank. At ANZ she implemented the first Cloud solutions for HR. One of few women at this level in the industry.

This international day gave us the opportunity to boost the profile of incredible women in our community who are pushing boundaries in many areas. How fortunate we are that they took the time out of their busy schedules to speak to us all. They were inspirational and are incredible role models for our girls!

        

Prep to Year 2 IWD Celebration

As part of International Women’s Day, the Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 girls were given a purple ribbon to wear as a symbol of strength, fairness and equality. We discussed women gaining the right to vote and make their own choices about their career and lives. The girls all made a card to recognise and acknowledge a particular quality their mother has taught them such as confidence, bravery, resilience and kindness.

The Year 2 girls also explored a new coding app on their iPads as part of our focus on International Women’s Day and enjoyed the challenge of writing a series of algorithms to make a lady dinosaur move, turn, grow and shrink! As part of our focus on S.T.E.A.M activities, coding at an introductory level was explored in 2016 and the students have continued to develop and extend their understandings this year. Coding is a critical literacy skill that may open up a diverse range of job opportunities for both men and women, so it is an important skill to equip our girls with – we want them to be on the cutting edge of technology as creators, not just as users as they learn and grow. All the girls will be following up with these coding concepts throughout the year.

Interesting facts and information about the STEM fields

The Australian Government have produced a very informative site which gives a lot of information about the STEM fields and highlights the importance of encouraging women into these fields.

You may also like to read about the Federal Government’s push to encourage women into STEM fields. The Government has announced funding to 24 organisations to rollout projects that will encourage girls and women to study and pursue careers in STEM!

Finally, let’s finish with a paper which may be of interest to a number of families. The paper dispels four damaging and persistent myths facing women in STEM, and highlights the need for ongoing action to encourage and support women to pursue careers in these areas.

A sincere thank you to all our wonderful teachers in both Prep to Year 2 classes and the Year 3 to 6 area. They are so supportive of our girls and are very committed to helping them develop into confident women of the 21st Century who believe they can do anything they want to do!

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