13 Sep 2022

STEM at Loreto Toorak

Principal Angela O’Dwyer recently spoke with The Age about the STEM programs offered at Loreto Toorak, and the increase in students pursuing STEM studies and related careers.

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Loreto Mandeville Hall Toorak also has seen an increase in the past 10 years in the number of students pursuing STEM studies and careers, with half of its graduating class last year enrolling in science, technology or design-related areas.

Principal Angela O’Dwyer says the school focuses on partnerships with institutions that provide practical experience, mentorship and even internships.

“One of the main objectives of our STEM and technology programs is to make sure that our girls can be actively involved in discussions that will be driven by our need to take care of our planet over the next 10 or 15 years,” she says.

One of its partnerships is with the Bionics Institute, in which Year 10 students meet with a scientist once a month and are mentored to complete a research project, on subjects such as cochlear implants or Parkinson’s disease.

In Year 7, students must complete a Project STEM subject, while in Year 8 it is an elective, in which students may work to solve real problems, such as passive and sustainably designed houses, fabricating with 3D printers or laser cutters and the impact on manufacturing, and the use of artificial intelligence in robotics.

“They are innovative programs, they’re engaging, the girls are interested and they’re intrigued.”

“They are challenged and they grow in them and it gives them confidence to choose those subjects in Years 11 and 12, which is what we’re finding.”

“I think the girls see the potential there too - there are a lot of opportunities out there for women.”

(The full article is available in The Age 10 September 2022 Advertising Feature – Innovation in Education, page 15.)