Applications now open for the Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy  

[by Sarah McKelvie]

Image: supplied

Applications are now open for the 2020 intake of students to join the Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy (YIWSA); a specialised program designed for young Indigenous women interested in study and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).


Joining the program in Year 8, eligible students receive personalised support and resources throughout high school, university and on to graduate employment. Participants receive mentoring by a dedicated CSIRO Academic Coordinator, and access an online community of peers, Indigenous leaders in STEM fields, and academic advisors. They also take part in activities such as STEM camps, work placements, and other STEM extension activities throughout their time in the Academy.


In a staged approach to recruitment, the program is being rolled-out in in new regions each year in order to reach the target 600 participants across Australia by 2023. The 2020 cohort will be invited from communities in Western Sydney and the Central Coast NSW, and Perth WA. Beyond 2023 YIWSA will focus on supporting its existing participants through to university.


“We know that young women, and particularly young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, have a lot to offer STEM fields. They have their own unique cultural perspectives and knowledges to bring to their studies, and in the future, to industry,” said Cassandra Diamond, Manager of the Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy.


“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander female participation in STEM is increasing, with data sourced from Commonwealth Department of Education showing that the number of Indigenous women completing University STEM studies doubled in the six years between 2008 and 2013.  The Academy program is designed to capitalise on this emerging trend and continue to support an increasing number of Indigenous women to study and work in STEM fields”.


 “Our participants also benefit from accessing top CSIRO educational programs including Bebras[1] (a computational thinking competition), and CREST[2] (Creativity in Engineering, Science and Technology).


“Our graduates will be strongly placed to succeed in their studies and to enter university directly from school – and we’re excited to see what they will achieve in STEM beyond that point!”


The Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy is an Indigenous STEM Education Project managed by CSIRO in partnership with Career Trackers.


The Academy is funded by the National Indigenous Australians Agency and provides individualised support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females who want to pursue STEM studies and careers.





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