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Mentoring opportunity

Curious Minds is a program for girls in science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Expressions of interest are now open for the 2017/2018 mentoring program.

Click here to apply online www.asi.edu.au/curiousmindsmentor/

You will be supporting bright Australian female students, from years 9 and 10, with the aim to encourage the continuation of their STEM studies.


Curious Minds is a hands-on extension and mentoring program to ignite girls’ passion in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The program was developed in response to the Australian Government’s 2014 Restoring the focus on STEM initiative, which aims to support improved science, mathematics and digital technology education in schools and promote improved results in international tests and increased take-up of STEM subjects at the post-secondary level.

The Australian Mathematics Trust (AMT) and Australian Science Innovations (ASI) were jointly granted funding to develop a new residential and mentoring program for girls focusing on STEM learning areas.

Girls from rural, disadvantaged or Indigenous backgrounds will be particularly targeted.

Curious Minds 2017/2018

We have invited 60 highly capable girls in years 9 and 10 who have an interest in STEM learning areas.

The girls will:
• be highly capable, hard-working and apply themselves
• be curious and have a love of learning
• have potential but may lack confidence in their own abilities
• be willing to engage
• have the maturity to live away from home for four nights

Students were identified through results of extension programs and competitions run by Australian Mathematics Trust and Australian Science Innovations.

The program will consist of
• summer residential camp, Monday 11 December to Friday 15 December 2017
• mentoring program, December 2017 to July 2018
• winter residential camp, Wednesday 11 July to Saturday 14 July 2018

The summer camp will be held at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney. The winter camp will be held at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra. Both camps will involve keynote addresses by prominent women in STEM, a panel discussion, lectures, laboratory sessions, tutorials and excursions.

Mentoring program overview

We recognise that the success and influence of a residential program can be greatly increased by ongoing follow-up.

The mentoring program is designed to provide real support for students who have enrolled in the Curious Minds program.

We are looking for 40 mentors from a variety of STEM fields to join our program from December 2017 to July 2018.

Mentors will receive full training, mentoring resources and ongoing support.

The mentoring program will see each student matched with a female mentor based on STEM area of interest and, where possible, geographical location. Together they will construct personal goals for the student. This might include discussing study options and career pathways, undertaking further extension work with support from their mentor, developing ideas based on learnings from the camp or working on a project.

For those mentees interested in pursuing science, this may include encouragement to use Olympiad Online a resource which provides support for students wishing to sit the Australian Science Olympiad exams. It is hoped that a significant number of the girls will go on to sit the exams, and potentially be selected on merit to attend the Australian Science Olympiad Summer School.

Those with an interest in informatics will be able to use similar online resources to help them prepare for the (Australian Informatics Olympiad (AIO), whilst budding mathematicians will be provided with resources to assist them in preparing for the Olympiad invitational program.


To develop a relationship with the mentee that stimulates her curiosity, inspires her enthusiasm and motivates her interest in STEM studies and careers.

Roles & responsibilities

• be a professional role model through friendliness, clear communication and setting appropriate boundaries
• actively listen, providing support and encouragement
• acknowledge the mentee’s strengths and talents, and encourage them to find ways to use them
• build mentee skills in critical thinking, logical reasoning and problem solving
• point to and encourage mentee to seek STEM role models and explore a wide variety of STEM related careers
• empower mentee, helping them to build resilience, courage and confidence
• link mentee to resources and information

• attend training sessions and follow-up session
• maintain an appropriate relationship with the mentee
• communicate with program manager if difficulties arise or support is needed
• participate in the evaluation process

For a copy of the Mentor Code of Conduct please click here Mentor Code of Conduct 2017.

Time commitment

• webinar training (2 hours one evening late November 2017, 2 hours one evening in March 2018)
• mentor training and meet your mentee – at UNSW on Thursday 14 December, 2017
• contact with mentee at least fortnightly but not less than monthly, for approximately 30 to 60 minutes per contact.
• contact can be via phone call, skype, email, visit to mentor’s work place or mentee’s school.
• wrap up session – at ANU on Thursday 12 July, 2018

Mentor support

• training from a professional mentoring consultant
• telephone and email support from program manager, as required
• mentoring tips emailed regularly
• online mentor forum for questions and discussion


• make a difference in the life of a girl with a curious mind
• contribute to the future career of a potential STEM professional
• personal professional development
• a rewarding experience!

Selection Criteria

1. proven interest in STEM activities

2. desire and capability to work with young people, in particular high school students

3. understanding and agreement to mentor responsibilities as listed in mentor role description

4. hold (or be willing to obtain) a working with children check. Although working in NSW and the ACT, the relevant registration for your state is acceptable.

5. ability to commit to time requirements as described

How to apply

Applications are now open for the 2017/2018 mentoring program. Click here to apply online www.asi.edu.au/curiousmindsmentor/

Working with children check

Mentors are required to hold (or be willing to obtain) a working with children check. Although working in NSW and the ACT, the relevant registration for your state is acceptable.

For information related to your state please refer to:

ACT: Working with Vulnerable People
Free for volunteers http://www.ors.act.gov.au/community

NSW: Working with Children Check
Free for volunteers http://www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au

NT: Working with Children Clearance Notice
$5.00 for volunteers http://www.workingwithchildren.nt.gov.au/

QLD: Blue card
Free for volunteers http://www.bluecard.qld.gov.au

SA: Child-related employment screening
$57.20 for volunteers http://www.dcsi.sa.gov.au/services/screening/what-kind-of-screening-do-I-need#CRES

TAS: Working with Children Registration
$18.36 for volunteers http://www.justice.tas.gov.au/working_with_children/volunteers

VIC: Working with Children Check
Free for volunteers http://www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au/

WA: Working with Children Check
$11.00 for volunteers http://www.checkwwc.wa.gov.au/checkwwc

Once you have been informed of your acceptance as a mentor you should apply for your check without delay.

Payment and expenses overview

This role is a voluntary position. The program will not provide payment for time spent mentoring, nor reimbursement for time lost from employment.

The program will cover the following costs:
• return flights from your nearest airport to Sydney/Canberra or bus travel where applicable
• meals whilst attending the UNSW and ANU
• accommodation for the night of 13 and/or 14 December 2017 at the UNSW, where a same day return flight cannot be scheduled
• accommodation for the night of 11 and/or 12 July 2018 at University House, ANU, where a same day return flight cannot be scheduled
• reimbursement for the fee paid to obtain a Working with Children Check

Mentors are required to cover the costs incurred getting from home to airport or bus station and their return. Local mentors may be required to cover the cost of travel to camps.


The program manager will make all travel, meal and accommodation arrangements in consultation with the mentor.

Closing date

Applications close midnight Sunday 8 October 2017.


Vanessa Kates vanessa.kates@asi.edu.au or 02 6125 6266