STEM Subjects are a source of inspiration for PLC Sydney students

STEM Subjects are a source of inspiration for PLC Sydney students.

In an age where the focus on gender equality is reaching an all-time high, STEM careers are being recognised as one of the pivotal areas to drive change, by helping to narrow the gender pay gap, increase women’s economic security, and ensure a diverse and merit-based STEM workforce is recognised and thriving.

For students at Presbyterian Ladies College, Sydney, there has never been a greater focus on STEM, where an inspirational and enriching learning environment is part and parcel of their education, and students regularly interact with role models in their fields.

The school’s Year 9 Computing Science Teacher, Renee Noble, was named in the Australian Financial Review (AFR) 100 Women of Influence Awards list, as a mover and shaker in STEM - a passion she is passing onto the next generation of girls at PLC Sydney.

The College also welcomed Robyn Denholm, Chairperson at Tesla, to talk to the girls about entrepreneurship, running a business, and dreaming big.

Introducing the students to such inspirational women is important in instilling confidence to aim high.

Dr Paul Burgis, Principal

And inspiration often comes from closer to home too. The current Vice Captain of PLC Sydney, Angie Rofail was profiled by the CSIRO and shortlisted for the BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards, for her work in biomimicry, where she analysed how crocodile scales might be used to help make buildings more safe and sturdy.

So while the girls get plenty of inspiration to aim high, they also have ample opportunities to “do” real science to prepare them for tertiary education in STEM. The Senior School students have been participating in AMGEN Australia, a pioneering company in the field of biotechnology, where girls get hands-on experience in genetic modification.

Students also benefit from dedicated senior and junior labs, as well as access to world-class facilities like an Invertebrate Dome where they study the life-cycle of stick insects, native bee hives throughout the College grounds, and a turtle hatchery for participation in the 1 Million Turtles Community Conservation Program.

Dr Burgis said every year they receive similar feedback from graduating students and families on the top two things they loved about their time at PLC Sydney.

“Excellent teachers and a really warm, embracing community is what our community values the most. That, and the substantial enrichment and extension opportunities we provide here at the College,” Dr Burgis said.

Angie Rofail, Year 12 Vice-Captain, with one of our youngest would be scientists!

PLC Sydney proudly employs a mathematician and two scientists in residence to help support STEM students, including a nuclear physicist who invented the laser that split the atom.

Our girls have the opportunity to go and present their science projects overseas at international conferences. They end up winning awards from companies like BHP, and get to work in the USA. We’ve also had girls on the Australian Science Team.

Dr Paul Burgis, Principal

In the past four years, PLC Sydney has also won more Young Science Awards than any other school in the state, and a number of girls have secured places on the Australian Science Team. The College also won first place in the prestigious Eureka Awards for science research in 2019 (Seniors) and 2018 (Juniors).

The College also offers Cambridge Courses to girls in Years 9 and 10, which continues to be popular among students.

The majority of families who send their children here want an education that’s broad and deep. They want an education that helps their daughter find a place and belong. That’s what we excel at here at PLC Sydney.

“They’re looking for a school where their daughters will be really engaged, where they’ll have freedom of choice and not be limited by anything, particularly in the job they can do. This is particularly pertinent if they’re looking to get into areas that are not traditionally ‘female’ fields, like engineering and computer science. Our girls excel in this area, which is exciting and inspiring others to do so too.”

Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Sydney is a day and boarding school for girls from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12, and one of Australia’s oldest and most respected schools for girls.

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