Promoting girls in science by Patricia Gadd

9 August

Opinion piece published in www.growingtallpoppies.com by Patricia Gadd

My first exposure to promoting Girls in Science was through the Growing Tall Poppies Program in 2016 at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights campus in Southern Sydney. I was given the opportunity to mentor six girls from a local school to uptake science subjects for their final year of high school. This program involved spending three hours in our Environmental Radioactivity Measurement Centre using the micro X-ray Fluorescence core scanner, known as the Itrax scanner. In order to provide the students with an appreciation of a scientists’ typical day, they spent time collecting and preparing sediment core and soil samples to produce optical and X-radiograph images. Those images combined with X-Ray Fluorescence analysis produces valuable data on fingerprinting the changes that have taken place in the environment. In between, there were numerous opportunities to speak with other female scientists about their professional journeys. This program was very successful as all six girls undertook at least one science subject for their final years of high school. It was exciting to see that these girls became advocates for the program and encouraged their peers to take up science subjects. The Growing Tall Poppies Program inspires girls to stick with science by working with real scientists on real science projects.

This year I had the opportunity to be part of the same program again and, as I thoroughly enjoyed it last year, I volunteered without hesitation. It was a pleasure to show the girls what scientists do on a day to day basis and again the enthusiasm and eagerness of the girls' was extremely rewarding. At the end of the day, watching the student presentations gave me hope that the future of STEMM for females is looking promising with the next generation.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patricia Gadd has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Chemistry) from UTS and has worked at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) in various roles for the last 20 years. She currently operates the ITRAX Core Scanner in Isotope Tracing in Natural Systems Platform. She has extensive experience in analytical chemistry in the areas of X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF), Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES), radiochemistry for Polonium-210 analysis, and Delayed Neutron Activation Analysis. Follow Patricia on Twitter, @PatriciaGadd

 

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