About

Curious Minds empowers girls who are passionate, high performers in STEM to explore their full potential.

Through a eight-month hands-on extension and mentoring program, we combine two camps and mentoring program for girls in years 9 and 10 who have limited opportunities because of where they live, including regional and remote locations, their socio-economic background, and/or their indigenous status.

Curious Minds is a program that first started in 2015, with funding received from the Federal Government. Since then, the program has been delivered to more than 760 students across Australia and helped to create a bond between students and their STEM Mentors.

This program was created with the intention of providing opportunities to students who live in remote locations with the ability, knowledge and power to dive into the world of STEM.

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In a fun and supportive environment, the girls will grow in confidence and ability whilst expanding their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and their scientific networks.

They will also make new friends, be exposed to outstanding role models, practise new skills, and deepen their understanding of what their future may hold in the fields of STEM.

 

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Do you have a curious mind?

Applications have now closed for the 2023-24 cycle.

Any expressions of interest being received will be considered for the 2024-25 program.

 

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A message from Cathy Foley, our Patron and Australia’s Chief Scientist

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“Curious Minds’ hands-on focus allows girls to explore their passion for STEM in a supportive environment. I’ve been involved with it since it began, and am honoured to be the patron. I look forward to continuing to support the development of the next generation of female scientists.”

— Dr Cathy Foley, Australia’s Chief Scientist

Meet our team

Kelsie Dadd

Kelsie Dadd

Program Director

Toni Falusi

Toni Falusi

Head Coach

Letiesha Whyte

Letiesha Whyte

Program Administrator

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FAQs

  • are in Year 9 or 10 in 2024
  • are highly capable, hard-working and apply themselves
  • are curious—they have a love of learning
  • have potential but may lack confidence in their own abilities
  • are willing to engage
  • have the maturity to participate in a five-day online and residential program, and maintain an on-going commitment to a 6-month STEM coaching program.
  • are an Australian Citizen or permanent resident

Curious Minds is a eight-month program that combines two camps and a mentoring program.

Since 2020, the format of the Curious Minds program has evolved. The Summer camp, held in December is a 5-day virtual camp to engage and introduce the students to different areas of STEM, like-minded students, and various opportunities they can work towards after the program. The Winter residential camp is held in July, where students will meet each other face-to-face, explore the STEM subjects through in-depth sessions, go on excursions and celebrate the end of the program together.

Throughout the program, students will engage in online Connect Events. These events will feature guest lectures, interactive sessions, interactive activities and networking.

The mentoring program matches each student with a female STEM coach based on a mutual STEM area of interest and, where possible, geographical location. Keeping in regular contact, the coach and student will work on personal goals for the student. This might include discussing study options and career pathways, undertaking further extension work with support from their mentor, developing ideas based on learnings from the camp or working on a project.

The program runs for eight months, and requires students to be available for both Summer camp in December and Winter camp in July, engage with their STEM Coach every 2-3 weeks from January to June, and interact where possible with Connect Sessions in-between the two camps.

Summer camp

Combined: Monday 4 through to Friday 8 December 2023

Winter camp

West: Monday 1 July through to Saturday 6 July 2024
East: Monday 8 through to Saturday 13 July 2024

 

 

The 2023/2024 Curious Minds program will be delivered using a hybrid model. The summer camps will be held virtually and the winter camps will be held face to face.

The program is particularly targeted towards female students in years 9 and 10 who have limited opportunities because of where they live, including regional and remote locations, their socio-economic background, and/or their Indigenous status.

The majority of this program will be run online. Summer camp and Connect Events will be held via Zoom, meetings with STEM Coaches will be on a platform agreed on by the coach and student, the winter camp will then be held face-to-face.

If you’re a student who would like to express interest in participating in Curious Minds, fill in your details here.

Participants are asked for a financial contribution of $200 to help meet costs incurred for delivering the program. A fee waiver is available for all applicants unable to make this contribution as part of the application process.

The program was developed in response to the Australian Government’s 2014 Restoring the focus on STEM initiative, which aims to support improved science, mathematics and digital technology education in schools and promote improved results in international tests and increased take-up of STEM subjects at the post-secondary level.

The Australian Mathematics Trust (AMT) and Australian Science Innovations (ASI) jointly deliver the Curious Minds program, which is supported by the Australian National University.

Girls from rural, disadvantaged or Indigenous backgrounds will be particularly targeted.