Skip to content
Education Training, Science

Program to show students you don’t need to be Einstein to study STEM

Charles Darwin University 2 mins read
CDU student Jessie Duncan and PhD students Huifeng Wang and Cedric Tan.

A new generation of thinkers and innovators will get a taste of what it’s like to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) alongside real academics in the second year of a Charles Darwin University (CDU) mentoring program. 

This week students from Casuarina Senior College toured the University’s Casuarina campus science and technology facilities for the beginning of CDU and Inspired NT’s Stage 2 Real Science Program. 

Post-graduate students will act as mentors to students from Casuarina Senior College and Darwin High School for the next seven months, guiding them through STEM-related projects from planning, execution to presenting. 

High school students will experience what it’s like to study at university, learn about the tertiary pathways open to them, and develop confidence in themselves and their abilities. Post-graduate students can practice leadership and supervision skills, time management, empathy and flexibility through mentoring. 

CDU PhD students Cedric Tan and Girum Gebremeskel Kanno are among this year’s mentors, and both were eager to share their knowledge and their personal and academic journeys into STEM.

Mr Tan’s research involves the development and testing of metals to reduce their damage within corrosive environments, while Mr Kanno is exploring how Artificial Intelligence can be integrated into the environmental life cycle assessment of healthcare plastic wastes. 

“I’m hoping the students will realise that science isn’t necessarily scary,” Mr Tan said. 

“It’s a very involved experience. It’s a lot of problem solving and being sure you’re engaged but if you can find something you’re passionate about, you’re going to get something out of it.”

Mr Kanno added: “STEM can be for everyone, and it should be fun.”

“People might assume science is hard but so long as you’re interested, you can easily challenge and solve complex problems. We live in a world full of environmental problems and we need more people with a different approach to solving these problems. 

Program coordinator and CDU Senior Lecturer in STEM Pathways Dr Carla Eisemberg hoped students would learn how science is an accessible pathway. 

“The idea you need to be an Einstein to be doing STEM is wrong,” Dr Eisemberg said.

“We need people with everyday skills to become scientists and engineers, because we need people who have different ways of thinking. There is no innovation without diversity.

“We're creating an opportunity for our post-graduate students to interact with high school students in a safe way that high school students will learn what university feels like, and at the same time our post-grad students can kickstart their careers as mentors and supervisors.” 

Former Casuarina Senior College student Jessie Duncan participated in last year's program and is now studying a Bachelor of Environmental Sciences at CDU. 

“The program opened my eyes to how many opportunities I have in this field, what I want to experience and how in depth I can go with research,” she said. 

“It doesn’t matter how much knowledge of science you already have. You learn everything you need as you go and it’s so beneficial.” 

Casuarina Senior College teacher Gregg Barker said last year’s students were involved in a variety of projects such as using of Microsoft Hololens mixed reality in STEM education, identifying the best growing environment for mushrooms, and dismantling and rebuilding a lawnmower engine.

“Working with a mentor from outside school provided students with new technical perspectives, helped them to become more confident and professional communicators, developed their ICT skills using MS Teams, and facilitated their planning, problem-solving and independent learning skills,” Mr Barker said. 

Contact details:

Raphaella Saroukos she/her
Research Communications Officer
Marketing, Media & Communications
Larrakia Country
T: +61 8 8946 6721


More from this category

  • Medical Health Aged Care, Science
  • 17/05/2024
  • 13:26
La Trobe University


Clinical Trials Day is celebrated globally each May 20 to recognise the first randomised clinical trial by James Lind in 1774. Lind studied the effects of different treatments on scurvy, after carrying out a clinical trial on 12 people using the treatment of citrus fruits. La Trobe University conducts clinical trials which contributes to a greater understanding of future treatments. Our experts are available to provide commentary on International Clinical Trials Day. Lauren MitchellSenior Manager, Clinical Trials Platform at La Trobe University Contact: 0466 504 484 Expertise: Clinical Trials Lauren Mitchell can discuss the following topics: What clinical trials…

  • Education Training, Food Beverages
  • 17/05/2024
  • 09:02

Celebrate Canteen Week is here for 2024!

ASCA is a not-for-profit member association of over 6500 schools Australia wide. Each year, ASCA helps schools and school canteens save millions of dollars,and…

  • Contains:
  • Science
  • 17/05/2024
  • 09:00
Monash University

New research shows the true cost of reproduction across the animal kingdom

A new study published in Science and led by Monash University biologists reveals that the energy cost of reproduction is far greater than previously believed. The research, led by Dr Samuel C Ginther from the School of Biological Sciences challenges long-held assumptions about the energy dynamics of reproduction and its implications for life history evolution. The study found that the energy invested by parents in reproduction includes not only the energy contained in the offspring themselves (direct costs), but also the energy expended to produce and carry them (indirect costs). In most species, indirect costs, such as the metabolic load…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.