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STEM Coach opportunity

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

Expressions of interest for the 2019/2020 STEM Coaching program will open mid-August 2019. To be added to the mail list for the 2019/2020 program, please email asi@asi.edu.au.

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

Find a PDF version of the program here: 2019 Curious Minds STEM Coach info.


Curious Minds is a hands-on extension and coaching 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 coaching program for girls focusing on STEM learning areas.

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


Curious Minds 2019/2020

We have invited 66 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 five 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, Sunday 8 to Friday 13 December 2019
• coaching program, December 2019 to July 2020
• winter residential camp, Sunday 12 to Thursday 16 July 2020

The summer and winter camps will be held at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra. Both camps will involve keynote addresses by prominent women in STEM, a communications activity, lectures, laboratory sessions, tutorials and excursions.

Coaching program overview

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

The STEM coaching program (formerly the coaching program) is designed to provide real support for students who have enrolled in the Curious Minds program.

We are looking for 45 STEM coaches from a variety of STEM fields to join our program from December 2019 to July 2020.

Coaches will receive full training, coaching resources, modules to guide conversations and ongoing support.

The coaching program will see each student matched with a female coach based on STEM area of interest and, where possible, geographical location. Your will support your student in a number of ways, maybe by talking career path and study options; helping research a STEM area of interest; have your student at your workplace for a visit. Modules will be provided to give you and your student ideas of useful things to do.


To develop a relationship with the student 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 student’s strengths and talents, and encourage them to find ways to use them
• build student skills in critical thinking, logical reasoning and problem solving
• point to and encourage student to seek STEM role models and explore a wide variety of STEM related careers
• empower student, helping them to build resilience, courage and confidence
• link student to resources and information

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

For a copy of the Coach Code of Conduct please click here 2018 Curious Minds STEM Coach Code of Conduct

Time commitment

• 30 November 2019 – Webinar: Coaches Training 1. Discuss program information, tips to engage a student, meet other mentors, questions.

• December 2019 – Webinar: Coaches Training 2. Review and discuss program information, tips to engage a student, meet other mentors, questions.

• 12 December 2019 – Summer Camp @ ANU. Get to know your student, set contact dates, discuss project ideas. Coaches Catch Up. This session is compulsory.

• March 2020 – Webinar: Coaches Catch Up. Discuss coaching progress (project ideas, challenges and successes) with Head Coach and fellow STEM coaches.

• June 2019 – Webinar: Coaches Catch Up. Discuss coaching progress (challenges and successes) with Head Coach and fellow STEM coaches.

• 15 July 2020 – Winter Camp @ ANU: Student presentations, wrap up and feedback session.

• Contact your student via phone or video call every three weeks, for approx 60 minutes. Complete online ‘exit ticket’ to confirm contact. Some additional prep time is required.

• Some other contact (text, email) in between calls, as agreed between you and your student.

Coach support

• Head Coach who will provide training, facilitate Coaches Catch Ups, and be a point of contact for questions or concerns
• programmed Modules to guide your contacts with your student
• coaching tips, reminders and updates emailed regularly, plus regular mentors giving you the chance to talk with other mentors to discuss progress
• online coach 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 coach responsibilities as listed in coach role description

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

5. ability to commit to time requirements as described

How to apply

Applications for the 2019/2020 program are now open.

Click here to apply: https://www.asi.edu.au/2019-2020-curious-minds-stem-coach-expression-of-interest/

Applications close 11.59pm on Sunday 8 September, 2020.

Working with children check

Coaches are required to hold (or be willing to obtain) a working with children check. Although working 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 https://form.act.gov.au/smartforms/servlet/SmartForm.html?formCode=1318

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

NT: Working with Children Clearance Notice
$7.00 for volunteers https://nt.gov.au/emergency/community-safety/apply-for-a-working-with-children-clearance

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

SA: Working with Children Check
$57.20 for volunteers https://screening.sa.gov.au/types-of-check/new-working-with-children-checks

TAS: Working with Children Registration
$19.44 for volunteers https://www.cbos.tas.gov.au/topics/licensing-and-registration/registrations/work-with-vulnerable-people/applications/apply

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

WA: Working with Children Check
$11.00 for volunteers https://workingwithchildren.wa.gov.au/

Once you have been informed of your acceptance as a coach 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 coaching, nor reimbursement for time lost from employment.

The program will cover the following costs:
• return flights from your nearest airport to Canberra or bus travel where applicable
• meals whilst attending ANU
• accommodation for the night of 11 and/or 12 December 2019 at ANU, where a same day return flight cannot be scheduled
• accommodation for the night of 14 and/or 15 July 2020 at ANU, where a same day return flight cannot be scheduled
• reimbursement for the fee paid to obtain a volunteer Working with Children Check (or state equivalent)

Coaches are required to cover the costs incurred getting from home to airport or bus station, and the return. Local coaches 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 coach.

Closing date

Applications close 11.59pm on Sunday 8 September, 2020.


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