STEM.I.AM was conceived by Birri Gubba man Wayne Denning, the managing Director of award-winning Indigenous creative agency Carbon Media and one of our inaugural Advance Queensland Community Digital Champions. Wayne was motivated by the work of Ngarrindjeri man David Unaipon, an Indigenous engineer, inventor, author and activist who appears on our $50 note.
“I want our young people to look to inspirational people like David and say ‘I too, belong in the STEM space and can make my mark on the world.’”
STEM.I.AM is a dedicated initiative to promote the study of STEM with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth around Australia. The goal is to increase the number of Indigenous people studying STEM at university.
Advance Queensland is proud to be a foundation sponsor for STEM.I.AM and deliver holistic and targeted programs for greater STEM engagement for Indigenous students in Queensland.
Partners and activities
The Advance Queensland STEM.I.AM Program will support existing activities and connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and extend the reach and impact with new activities to foster engagement in STEM. The activities will be delivered by several partners and harness working relationships and programs with government departments, Indigenous communities, libraries, schools, universities and foundation sponsors.
- The Solid Pathways program for high-achieving Indigenous students by the Department of Education will be extended to include:
- coding and robotics workshops at program camps with the support of FIRST Australia
- participation in coding clubs
- participation in state and national coding and robotics competitions
- professional development for teachers, librarians and volunteers who support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in STEM with the support of Google
- Grants for coding and robotics activities delivered by Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKC) and libraries are administered by State Library of Queensland.
- STEM.I.AM Scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolling in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) at Queensland universities.
- Award-winning Indigenous creative agency Carbon Media Pty Ltd. will continue to grow STEM.I.AM and will play a pivotal role in storytelling, raising awareness and galvanising new partners to help strengthen and broaden the impact of the program.
How to get involved
- Young Aboriginal and Torres students who want to get involved should talk to their teachers, schools, libraries and community groups to find out what activities are available in their region.
- The Department of Education works with schools to involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the Solid Pathways programs, camps and activities.
- Schools and community groups can contact us to help with connections to local IKCs or public libraries.
- Organisations that can deliver coding and robotics activities can contact us to discuss ways to support the Advance Queensland STEM.I.AM program
The Queensland Government through the State Library of Queensland has awarded funding of over $157,000 to eight Councils to deliver coding and robotics programs that support the participation and engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The programs are available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, from grades 5 to 12, through public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres in Aurukun, Cook, Douglas, Gladstone, Logan, North Burnett, Paroo and Townsville.
First Advance Queensland STEM.I.AM Scholarship recipient: Eva Hopewell, QUT Brisbane
Second Advance Queensland STEM.I.AM Scholarship recipient: Tarliya Baxter, CQU Bundaberg
Greater participation and engagement in STEM will benefit the whole community. Addressing the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation is vital to make sure every Queenslander has access to the opportunities and pathways they need to create a positive future. There is a role for everyone in this journey and we encourage corporate partners to join the Advance Queensland STEM.I.AM program.
About the program
The Advance Queensland STEM.I.AM Program aims to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enrolments in STEM-related university courses in Queensland by:
- delivering coordinated and targeted STEM engagement activities for young Indigenous people
- providing positive, hands on learning environments and experiences
- building capability in educators to deliver STEM classes such as coding and robotics
- profiling young Indigenous people in STEM to inspire self-belief, foster inclusion and encourage school participation
- encouraging participation in Queensland’s innovation ecosystem
- developing close working partnerships between community groups, libraries, schools and universities
- fostering collaborative corporate partnerships to support the expansion, reach and impact of the program.