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Meriden girls lead the way for women in STEM

Planning experiments, searching for solutions to real-world challenges and representing Australia in the Olympic Games for science students are all in a day’s schoolwork for Meriden girls.

Meriden school provides girls access to world-class STEM facilities, inspiring mentors and myriad opportunities to explore STEM beyond the curriculum – and it shows. By the time a Meriden girl graduates, she has amassed many hours of practical experience in a range of STEM disciplines.

Beyond the subjects that make up the STEM acronym, Meriden girls may take subjects including Research and Critical Thinking, Forensic Science and Psychology alongside a range of co-curricular interest groups.

At Meriden, girls participate in STEM subjects at a higher rate than that of girls across the country, and students feel prepared to take on STEM subjects following their HSC. In addition, Meriden girls are leading the way in solving real-world problems through creative and critical thinking.

Take Year 10 student, Mikayla Rodger, who was recently awarded the 2023 Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize for her scientific invention that could reduce the impact of algae blooms in our waterways. Mikayla took out first place for her solar-powered machine that can oxygenate and filtrate a body of water to prevent algae blooms from developing.

Mikayla said she has always been fascinated by science, and completing her project has further reinforced her passion for the subject.

“For me, science is a vessel for discovery. I get to learn about how things work and apply it to the world around me. Science allows me to question, explore and uncover. It provides results that can help to develop solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges,” Mikayla said.

“I believe it is important for young women to become more involved in STEM, pursue their interests and strive to make real change in the world around them.”

Further extending learning beyond the classroom, Meriden girls are encouraged to participate in external STEM competitions.

Earlier this year, Year 12 student, Jacinta Rees, competed against the best student-physicists in the world at the Asian Physics Olympiad, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. In 2022, Jacinta was selected as one of eight students to represent Australia at the International Earth Science Olympiad, where she won a silver medal.

“What fascinates me most about science is that it’s a continuous learning process. Science is never finished. We keep building upon our understanding, questioning our assumptions and our own biases. It’s this process that appeals to me so much,” she said.

Jacinta is hoping to undertake a career in biomedical engineering following her HSC exams and said participating in the Olympiads has motivated her to achieve her dreams.

“I am finding inspiration from women in science who have paved the way for success in their respective fields. They have shown me that women can have a career in science; it’s not just a dream,” Jacinta said.

At Meriden, girls are imbued with the delight that comes with pushing the boundaries of possibility. From Meriden’s youngest students, who design and build robots, to its senior students, whose work is making an impact on the way we care for the planet, Meriden girls are supported to follow their passions.

Their success demonstrates the limitless opportunities for girls in STEM and the impact they can have when provided with the resources, mentors and encouragement to make a difference.

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