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    GALS helps girls take the lead in STEM

    More than fifty Geelong school girls have brought to life their understanding of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in a Deakin University led project, Girls as Leaders in STEM (GALS) supported by The Invergowrie Foundation.

    The girls, in Years 5 to 8 from nine primary and secondary schools, were challenged to respond to an identified issue or need in their community and their clever, creative solutions were on display at the official launch of the GALS program at Geelong Library on Tuesday, 13 July, attended by Vanessa Schnickerau, (CEO, Geelong Library and Heritage Centre), Libby Coker (Federal Member of Parliament for Corangamite) and Professor Vanessa Lemm.
    Working with the Deakin STEM Education team and their teachers, the girls –

    • Used recycled plastics to make school badges – Bell Park North Primary School
    • Designed a gender-neutral store – Newcomb Secondary College
    • Created a bioplastic to replace harmful plastics – Sacred Heart College
    • Created an app to counter cyberbullying – Sacred Heart College
    • Produced an interactive display to raise awareness of the problem of microfibers – Clairvaux Catholic School
    • Created an ‘Awareness sensory box’ to inform young students of plastic waste – Clairvaux Catholic School
    • Designed an inclusive playground – Grovedale West Primary School
    • Reduced microthreads in the environment – St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School
    • Created a robotic ‘fish’ that collects rubbish on the surface of the ocean – Torquay College
    • Created an app to inform people about how they can improve their environmental impact – Torquay College
    • Produced an app to help reduce waste in clothing stores – Newcomb Secondary College
    • Investigated opportunities for inclusive practices with various community groups – Ashby Primary School
    • Made a clothing tag using recycled plastics – Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School

    Deakin’s Associate Professor Coral Campbell said local industries also contributed time and ideas to the projects and worked with teachers to develop curriculum.

    GALS has helped the girls see the real-life applications of STEM and the varied career paths that flow from STEM skills,” Associate Professor Campbell said.

    “It has been wonderful to see how the way the world has opened up for these girls as they develop important problem-solving skills and see the potential of STEM as a future study option.”