Emma Serisier wants to help others to achieve success in STEM

Emma Serisier wants other rural students to succeed in STEM. Photo: supplied.

 

EMMA Serisier is not half way through her degree in Mathematics and Medicine at the University of Queensland but has already achieved state-wide and national recognition.

She won the NSW Rural Young Scientist of the Year Award in 2017, was in the 2020 Australian International Science and Engineering Fair team and won the Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize for her work on soil and water quality on farms.

Emma was also the Zonta Club of Coffs Harbour’s Young Women in Public Affairs Award winner at this year’s International Women’s Day Breakfast.

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Because of her successes, and her experiences in achieving them, Emma wants to establish a mentoring system for rural students to foster passion in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers.

Arriving at university and not knowing anyone, and seeing that urban students seemed to be much more confident and knowledgeable, caused Emma to doubt herself.

She felt that, had she had the same access to STEM resources that her university peers had in secondary school, her introduction to university might have been much more comfortable.

Emma said she has been contacted by many people recently who share her experiences, which has made her more determined to help others have more positive support.

She has identified several main barriers for rural students in developing their interests and skills in STEM.

The first is the focus that many rural schools tend to have in extracurricular activities.

Emma said, “While there was science in the classroom and my school was very supportive of me in STEM, there was not the same focus on academic and artistic extra-curricular activities as there was for sport.”

She also feels that there is limited access to STEM researchers in rural areas for students for them to gain a better understanding of the potential careers available to them.

A related issue is that rural students have many natural resources to explore through STEM but little guidance.

To mitigate the disadvantage that rural students interested in STEM have, Emma is in the process of starting a mentoring program, called STEMpower, for young women from regional Australia who want to get into STEM.

She is in the planning stages but is already gratified by the moral support from many people and organisations,
Including ABC Trailblazers, which is a program that supports young people making a difference in their regional communities.

Emma told News Of The Area that one of her dreams was to stage a regional Science Fair in Coffs Harbour, perhaps in conjunction with the Science Teachers Association of New South Wales.

She hopes that STEMpower will become a forum for mentoring, workshops and other initiatives to help other young rural STEM enthusiasts achieve their potential.

 

By Andrew VIVIAN

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