Get a science Yoda

IT’S like speed dating, but an innovative event being held in Perth on August 19 and 20 is not looking to land teenage girls a boyfriend, but a mentor to guide them into a scientific, technological, engineering or mathematical (STEM) career.

The event is part of National Science Week and is being organised by the Innovators’ Tea Party, which was founded last year by mining engineer Evelyn Chuk to help boost the 16 per cent of professional women in Australian STEM fields.

The free speed-networking events are being held at Flux on St Georges Terrace and will give participants from years 10 to 12 access to women working in medicine, astronomy, agriculture and data science, to mention just a few.

Tea Party treasurer Sarah Henn, a medical research scientist at UWA, says the response to the networking event has been overwhelming.

• Scitech’s element of surprise shows are designed to show kids science isn’t just about boring numbers and equations. Photo supplied

“We were inundated with applications from professionals wanting to volunteer their time to mentor young women,” Ms Henn says.

“We had to turn away dozens of great applicants, but it allowed us to ensure our mentor team are from a diverse range of backgrounds, industries and career stages.

“We hope that by exposing young women at an influential age to passionate and successful women, they will be more inclined to follow the same path or have the confidence to follow in their footsteps.”

There are places for over 250 students, with four general STEM sessions, and four themed sessions on offer. Registrations are essential and more information can be found at http://www.innovatorsteaparty.org.

Meanwhile the Perth Science Festival will kick off National Science Week at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre this weekend (August 12, 13).

The free family-friendly event will have more than 70 stalls and events, including Scitech, the Gravity Discovery Centre, Perth Observatory, Kanyana Wildlife, Native Arc and Western Power.

There’ll also be a range of shows, tours and even a dance workshop with Creative Moves WA who’ll be looking at maths and movement.

Guest speaker will be 17-year-old innovator and CEO or Fiftysix Creations, Taj Pabari, who’ll be giving his thoughts on how to create future innovators on Saturday.

To find out more about what’s on, read our national science week feature on pages 8 and 9.

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