Connect Event 2 – February 2024 – Curious Minds

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In February 2024, one of our Connect Events took place for the 2023/2024 Curious Minds cohort. Throughout the program, students engage in online Connect Events, a chance to catch up, learn and engage. These events feature guest lectures, interactive sessions, interactive activities, and networking.

To embrace the acknowledgement of country, a reading of Somebody’s Land by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing was played. Introduced by Toni Falusi, Curious Minds Head Coach, who said, “It has been written as an invitation to connect with First Nations culture, and to also acknowledge the hurt of the past, that the country was never ‘terra nullius’, and to see the impact of colonisation from a First Nations point of view.”

In just under an hour, a range of inspiring topics were covered including:

  • An Ice Breaker question which was answered in the chat section, “If you wrote a book, what would it be about?”
  • Welcome and explanation of the Curious Minds Alumni program by Kelsie Dadd, Program Director.
  • A 3-minute activity – Choose a STEM topic of interest to you, write down everything you already know, things you want to find out and any questions you might have.
  • Guest speaker, Zali, an Alumni who shared her STEM interests and program experiences.

A great way to spend an evening with like-minded peers and fellow STEM loving people! As Toni explained, “These Connect Events are not a compulsory part of the program, they’re just nice additional elements to the program that we’ve developed over the years to build some connection with you.”

The attendees then heard from Curious Minds Alumni, Zali, who participated in the 2023 Winter Camp. She shared her experiences and inspired the audience with a dynamic Q&A session.

How did the Curious Minds program impact you and your future career?

  • Curious Minds gave Zali the confidence to go after more. Zali has been accepted into Year 12 at a select entry science school in Melbourne and says that without Curious Minds she would never have tried to gain entry.
  • Curious Minds made her excited about science and she was usually the only girl in her science class before she got into this school.

How did you pick your project?

  • Zali wanted to explore different areas to what she was doing at school
  • She chose something she loves… birds!

What advice would you give to regional girls to further their STEM education?

  • Zali says ‘Go for it’ and ‘Don’t say no to an opportunity’!
  • She reinforced the impact of making connections and friends that will help you along your journey.
  • Her final words of advice were “You’ve just gotta go with it because you’ll learn so much!”

Did your STEM interest change after being part of Curious Minds?

  • I think participating in the program helped widen my horizons of what I enjoyed

Have you stayed in contact with people from Curious Minds camp?

  • Zali says “I still love all of those girls… you’re going to make heaps of friends.”
  • She reinforced that once you get to camp, everyone is super lovely!

Did you have many STEM opportunities before participating in Curious Minds?

  • “I come from a small country school in regional Victoria that focuses on farming, so not really.”
  • Zali says she had participated in the Science Olympiads, but that “Curious Minds was a good eye-opener for all of the things I didn’t get to see because I came from a regional town.”

As the team and audience thanked Zali for her time and willingness to answer their questions, the Connect Event came to a close.

Thank you to everyone who made the effort to connect with their Curious Minds peers and team, giving their attention and interest to really make it a special session.