Fly me to the moon: More girls pursue STEM studies

From aerospace engineering to carbon sequestering, a record number of girls studying senior science and technology subjects has led to exciting career choices in professions that need more female representation.

Feb 12, 2021, updated Feb 23, 2021

Despite having to contend with a global pandemic while completing their Year 12 studies, St Margaret’s graduating Class of 2020 achieved exceptional academic results.

55 St Margaret’s students (63.1%) achieved an ATAR of 90 or above which ranked them in the top 10% of the State.

To find out more about a St Margaret’s education, visit the school’s Open Day on Saturday 6 March. Click here to learn more.

Eloise Matyear was one of 14 St Margaret’s students who achieved an ATAR of 99 or higher, placing her among the top 1% of the State.

The aspiring Astronaut is planning to study a Bachelor of Engineering and a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Physics and Aerospace Engineering at The University of Queensland this year.

“My main goal is to become an astronaut but I would also really like to advance my knowledge in astro physics and learn how to build and fly rockets,” Eloise said.

While Eloise says she’s always had a fascination with outer space, it was her Physics teacher who inspired her to really pursue her interests beyond Earth as well as her involvement in the school’s Astronomy Club.

“An assignment I did on worm holes and how they can be used for time travel was the real clincher for me,” she said.

Rebecca Lauder also achieved highly, receiving an ATAR of 99.05 and is studying a Bachelor of Advanced Science specialising in cell biology this year.

“I want to go into research and work on creating products that are carbon sequestering because I am very passionate about climate change,” Rebecca said of her aspirations for the future.

She says that her St Margaret’s teachers helped open doors and highlight opportunities like the QUT STEM Camp, National Youth Science Forum and UQ Young Scholars Program, which all helped guide her study and career direction.

“It was through my participation at the QUT STEM Camp in Year 11 that I really became interested in biotechnology and green engineering,” she said.

Principal Ros Curtis said it was pleasing to see a large contingent of St Margaret’s Class of 2020 studying STEM related fields last year.

“We have worked hard at St Margaret’s to break down any gender stereotypes and encourage our girls to have STEM-related ambitions so that they can become a scientist or engineer if they want to,” said Ms Curtis.

As a result, St Margaret’s has seen a significant increase in the enrolments of students across Senior Science and Technology subjects, including Biology (increase of 21%), Chemistry (increase of 11%), Physics (increase of 27%) and Digital Solutions (increase of 52%), and there are currently more students studying science and technology than at any other time in the school’s history.

In 2020, St Margaret’s received an Excellence Award for Best STEM Program and the Head of Faculty Science and Technology Chris Dunn won an Outstanding Teacher of STEM Award.

The school was also named the country’s top Boarding School for the second year running while Principal Ros Curtis won a School Principal of the Year Non-Government Excellence Award.

To find out more about a St Margaret’s education, visit the school’s Open Day on Saturday 6 March. Click here to learn more.

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