Next week 60 girls, aged 11-13, from Melbourne Girls Grammar are departing for the U.S., on what is the school’s inaugural Middle Years Science and Enterprise Tour. The tour includes a visit to the Bill & Melinda Foundation Head Office in Seattle, The Chabot Space Station, the Exploratorium in San Francisco, Stanford University, Google Headquarters in Mountain View, and a highlight is expected to be the student conference: “Young Women for Enterprise and Innovation”.
The keynote speaker Pamela Fox, is a graduate from the USC Computer Science Department and worked for some years at Sydney’s Google Headquarters working on Google Maps and Google Wave. She has now returned to San Francisco and to a role at Khan Academy where she is writing their online computing curriculum. http://www.pamelafox.org/
After the keynote the students will participate in a range of workshops that include; “Algorithms” with Pamela Fox and “Leadership & Personal Branding” by local executive management coach Denise Rabius http://www.deniserabius.com/
After the Consul General, Amy Hyatt, heard about the trip she also offered assistance and sent along a representative of the U.S. Consulate to the student planning day as, in her words, “we’ve a keen interest in STEM and innovation, and particularly as it relates to Australian youth.”
Back at school, technology is embedded throughout the curriculum, and students have the opportunity to extend their skills via subjects such as Digital Media & Design and Algorithmics & Informatics Networks. The engagement continues in the extra-curricular offerings too, via Techie Club, Coding Club, participating in national competitions and school holiday programs that are focussed on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths).
“We are so fortunate at Melbourne Girls Grammar to have the opportunity to engage girls with STEM at such a young age. Starting at the higher levels is far more difficult but if they are led to believe that playing with technology, engineering, coding and robotics is completely normal for girls, they grow up, not just believing but actually knowing that they can do anything” says the Director of eLearning, Mary-Lou O’Brien