I have had the best day at work today. I love it when I know I am meeting other students to hear about some of the things they are involved with over a coffee, and today was one of those days. Today I met with Aimee, who is volunteering as an In2science Mentor.
I know you are wondering …
…What is In2science?
Well it is a program that places university students as mentors into schools, specifically to build relationships with year 8-9 students and their teachers in mathematics and science classes. The idea is to connect students with STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) improving their learning outcomes, with a view to direct them into further study pathways and careers in these fields. They are even equipped to deliver to secondary students in years 7-12 at regional schools via eMentoring, but today, I met with Aimee, who has been a mentor at a school during Semester 1 of this year. She is a second year student, studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in chemistry and mathematics.
Melinda: How did you hear about the In2science program and what made you get involved?
Aimee: Ollie (the In2science Coordinator) came into one of my lecture promoting it. I was not working due to some health reasons, but it didn’t mean I couldn’t volunteer. Hearing about the program reminded me of when I received 100% on a science test in school and wishing I had someone to mentor me in the right direction. So I got online and applied, went for the interview and that was that.
Melinda: How many schools have you mentored at and for which subject?
Aimee: Just at the one school and I mentor in a year 8 maths class
Melinda: How do you engage with students in order to help them problem solve, rather than just give them the answers?
Aimee: I noticed there were a few kids who had fallen behind, 1 in particular was really unwell and so I focused on building their confidence. Helping students to think that what they think is right and have the confidence to have a go. The classes run for an hour too, and I am impressed they can sit down and work for an hour.
Melinda: What kind of professional skills have you developed as a result of being a mentor in this program?
Aimee: Teaching someone else is a real challenge. Learning how to explain concepts to other people… that is skill I have learnt. Also leadership, bringing kids together and helping them to work in groups and facilitating the process.
Melinda: What would you say to anyone considering becoming and In2science Mentor?
Aimee: Just do it (We laughed here about inserting a big Nike swoosh since we stone their slogan). It is such a great opportunity to go back into the classroom as an adult, and I now have a different perspective from where I was there at school (Aimee was bullied as a student and it was great for her to go back and see things from another perspective, realize it wasn’t anyone’s fault and it gave her renewed confidence at how much she has grown as a person since school.)
… In speaking with Aimee, I got the sense that she has a real passion to see others develop to their full potential regardless of their home or personal circumstances, and for volunteering. I could totally see why she would put her hand up to volunteer for a program like In2science, where as a mentor you have the potential to instill confidence into students, giving them the ability to believe in their knowledge and ideas, and that in itself for Aimee was rewarding.
Recruiting Now – How to get Involved!
Looking to inspire high school kids who need a little extra help gaining confidence in science and maths?
Are you at least in the second year of your degree?
In2science would love to hear form you!
Check out their website for more information and how to apply at www.in2science.org.au or you can contact Ollie Barrand, the In2science Coordinator via his email on O.Barrand@latrobe.edu.au