Skills beyond her years: STEM.I.AM

Skills beyond her years: STEM.I.AM Scholarship recipient inspiring the next generation of girls to code

Last year Eva Hopewell became the first recipient of the Advance Queensland STEM.I.AM Scholarship, which provided her with financial support to pursue a degree in information technology (IT) at university. In her first year at QUT she has been busy exploring different applications of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), but is not too busy to give back to the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls in the local community.

Eva Hopewell

Young girls gasped when they learned their coding tutor, Eva Hopewell, was a university student.

Eva taught coding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls aged five to eight years through workshops run by the Girl Geek Academy at the State Library of Queensland.

“We taught the girls to write code and develop their own version of Flappy Bird,” Eva says.

“They gasped when I told them I was at university. They were shocked,” she adds.

Eva’s coding skills and technological knowledge led the girls to believe she was much older.

Eva teaches young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island girls to code as an ambassador for positive change within Indigenous communities. Picture: Eva with student Kobie Smith with their version of Flappy Bird. Credit: ABC Radio Brisbane | Jessica Hinchliffe.

As inaugural recipient of the Advance Queensland STEM.I.AM scholarship and a first year student in the QUT Bachelor of Information Technology (Information Systems), Eva became an ambassador for creating positive change.

Eva said she learned more about STEM careers as a high school student after attending the five-day on campus QUT Indigenous Australian Science and Infrastructure Development (SID) School.

“I studied maths, physics and information digital media technologies classes in high school but didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Eva said.

“QUT gave me the opportunity to explore applications of STEM in different working environments and inspired me to pursue a career within the technology industry.”

Eva has just completed her first year of university and says although her path is uncertain, IT is definitely part of her future.

“The technology sector is one that is always changing, improving and innovating.

“I would like to make my mark on the world by owning my own technology company or working for a company that is a good environmental citizen and creates positive change,” Eva said.

Eva volunteers as a mentor to other Indigenous students interested in a STEM career at the QUT Indigenous Australian Science and Infrastructure Development (SID) School. Credit: QUT | Oodgeroo Unit

Eva still attends the SID School that helped her focus on an IT career, only now as an Indigenous Student Ambassador.

QUT has more than 700 Indigenous students with an increasing number taking up STEM disciplines, according to Professor Anita Lee Hong, Director of the Oodgeroo Unit, QUT’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student support centre.

“QUT runs programs to widen participation in tertiary study of under-represented groups such as low-income people and Indigenous people, many of whom are the first in their family to enrol.

“Encouraging university participation often involves stimulating interest through on-campus and in-school activities.

“Many of our activities involve science, engineering, technology and mathematics learning and specifically target underrepresented groups including females and Indigenous students,” Professor Lee Hong said.

STEM.I.AM was conceived by QUT alumnus and proud Birri Gubba man from Blackwater, Wayne Denning.

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.

A second Advance Queensland STEM.I.AM scholarship will provide recognition and $10,000 financial assistance to one Indigenous student enrolling in a CQUniversity Engineering or Information Technology Bachelor degree commencing in 2018. The successful applicant of the 2018 Scholarship will be announced soon. Find out more about the STEM.I.AM program on the Advance Queensland website.

This article was adapted with permission from Novella Martin’s Medium story published on The Learning and Big Solutions (LABS) from QUT Science and Engineering Faculty publication.


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Read more stories about Queensland start-ups, innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs, and community digital champions all helping drive change and make things happen.

Advance Queensland is a suite of programs designed to create the knowledge-based jobs of the future, drive strong innovation and an entrepreneurial culture.

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Skills beyond her years: STEM.I.AM was originally published in Advance Queensland on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Last updated 25 Sep, 2019
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia (CC BY-ND 3.0) ( )

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