Perspectives of international best practice for promoting engagement of young people in STEM

Sarah Chapman1

1Townsville State High School, Aitkenvale, Australia

Sarah Chapman was awarded a Barbara Cail Fellowship in 2016. The Barbara Cail STEM Fellowship aimed to research and identify effective and innovative ways for promoting participation of young people, particularly girls, in STEM fields during their education and subsequent careers.

The research included visits to schools, businesses, universities, government departments and communities all over the world, to find out what other OECD countries were doing that was having an impact on the rate of engagement in STEM education.

This presentation will focus on best practice for engaging and sustain young people in STEM, in particular girls. This will include:

* understanding an effective STEM ecosystem & the importance of each stakeholder

* embedding key strategies to engage girls in STEM

* exploring the key role partnerships play in empowering students in STEM


Sarah Chapman is the Head of Department of Science at Townsville State High School and is in her fifteenth year of teaching. She is passionate about inspiring, engaging and empowering people through STEM, fuelling sparks of curiosity in the classroom that build strong lifelong connections with the wonder, ingenuity and dynamic possibilities of STEM.

Sarah commits extensive portions of her own time lifting the profile of science education, by working with students, teachers and the broader community. She is the co-founder of the Townsville STEM Hub. Sarah is an Executive Committee member of Women in Science Australia, and Director on the Board of Australian Girls ESTEAMME Collaborative, a subsidiary of Global Girls Collaborative, bringing together organisations that are committed to information and encouraging girls in Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths and Maker Education.

Sarah was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute in 2018. She awarded a Barbara Cail STEM Fellowships in 2016, which involved international travel to research best practice in engaging young people into STEM. In 2017 Sarah co-authored Engaging the Future of STEM Report, including the findings from the Barbara Cail STEM Fellowship. Sarah was awarded the prestigious Prime Minister’s Secondary Science Teaching Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in 2013. In 2014 she was selected as a Queensland Government Science Champion. Sarah’s work has also been recognised with a prestigious Peter Doherty, Outstanding Teacher of Science Award in 2008 (Queensland Government) and an Australian Award for Teaching Excellence in 2009 (Teaching Australia).

Sarah is an inspirational keynote speaker and workshop presenter at local, state, national and international STEM events. She is also regularly consulted by a range of institutions for the advice around vision and direction of STEM engagement and education.

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