Science Communicator and STEM Coach, Adriana Zaja, is a keen advocate of supporting girls to pursue their interests in STEM fields.
Adriana recalls that she has always been interested in the world around her which led her to pursue an honours degree in geography at UNSW.
I was always interested in the natural world, though the only “science” subject I studied in senior high school was geography by distance education. I decided it was my strongest interest so I went to UNSW Sydney to study a Bachelor of Science (Honours), making the most of every opportunity to learn in the great outdoors with field trips in the outback, coast, alpine zone, and even in New Zealand.
With a growing interest in communicating science, she joined Questacon’s travelling Science Circus and now works for the NSW Government, communicating about climate research.
I joined a Master’s program to study science communication at ANU while travelling eastern Australia to perform exciting Questacon science shows. I followed the science communication pathway, organising events across every state and territory for the University of Newcastle’s Science and Engineering Challenge STEM outreach program. I am now working as a Science Communicator for the NSW Government’s climate research work which provides insights into Australia’s potential future climate and hazards through to the year 2100.
Adriana became a STEM Coach to help support high school students when making decisions on what they want to do after school, something she wish she had more support with herself.
I joined the program because I wanted to be a helpful guide to explain senior subject selection and post-HSC study options. I certainly wish I had more guidance and resources to draw on when making decisions about future study, and I want to encourage students to remain open-minded to new opportunities. Extra-curricular programs like Curious Minds give students the chance to deep dive into their interests to help them make decisions about which pathway to follow with more confidence.
As a returning STEM Coach, Adriana explains the plethora of opportunities that Curious Minds offers to aspiring scientists.
Curious Minds creates a safe and encouraging space for young female students to dream big about their future. The program provides regular touchpoints for coaches and students to build rapport and prompts them to explore goal setting, cultural science and tertiary education pathways. There’s a lot of freedom and flexibility for each student to explore their STEM interest at their own pace. Students also get a lot out of the immersive summer and winter camps, forming connections and friendships with peers from other schools and locations across the country.