Girls from Years 9 to 12 are invited to join a club united by the passion for STEM. Together, they will build their pathway to the university and a bright career future.

Girl smiling and folding her arms in front of the cameraHonouring its commitment to contribute to the inclusion of more women in the STEM fields, the University of South Australia invites schools to express their interest in participating in the 7th edition of the STEM Girls Academy (formerly the STEM Girls program).

The Academy will connect girls from several ages through their passion to STEM and instil a sense of connection and belonging. The Academy will also assist in the building of key capacities for success and offer practical support such as mentoring and career development and advice.

At the end of the year, student will receive a Golden, Silver or Bronze accreditation, depending on their engagement in the program.

What’s new?

  • Program expansion
    The Academy will offer a wide range of activities for students from Years 9 to 12, maintaining its focus on Years 11.
  • More flexibility to students
    It will work as a club, offering a wide range of online and face-to-face activities, in which your girls will have the opportunity to choose their level of participation.
  • Design Based Methodology
    Years 11 and 12 students can apply for a Creative Challenge to learn how to apply design thinking methodology to their Research Project (SACE).
  • Mentoring program
    Years 11 and 12 will be matched with mentors from the South Australian Academy for Gender Equity in STEAM (SAAGGES). They are staff from UniSA, graduates and industry partners trained by SAGGES to support students in the development of their Creative Challenge and the completion of the SACE Research Project.

Self-paced activities

A wide portfolio of online and face-to-face STEM activities, which girls can participate in accordance to their interests.

  • STEM Girls channel (Years 9 to 12) - A digital feed on news and views on STEM, delivered as a content hub website and regular newsletter.
  • STEM Girls at home (Years 9 to 12) - The Academy delivers a range of self-paced STEM experiences that can be explored at home with online support.
  • STEM Girls on Campus (Years 9 to 11) - Events based on each of the UniSA campuses so that participants can see the next step in their STEM career.
  • STEM Girls in the World (Years 9 to 12) - The Academy coordinates visits to STEM activities and industry tours around the state — there is no need to go alone!

Register your interest in STEM Girls Academy

Register now

STEM Girls history

UniSA Connect initiated STEM Girls on behalf of the University in 2015. The program continues to grow, and contact is maintained with girls from the inaugural program.

This initiative commenced in response to state and national agendas to increase the number of females in STEM careers where there continues to be chronic underrepresentation, and to focus on STEM skills. STEM skills are increasingly important to the economic and social wellbeing of Australia with 75 per cent of the fastest growing occupations requiring these skills.

From the STEM Girls 2015 cohort of 16, 12 have continued study and are now in tertiary education, with eight in STEM related pathways.

In 2016, we appointed our first STEM Girls Champion, Dr Laura-Anne Bull, Pro Vice Chancellor: Student Engagement and Equity at the University of South Australia. In the same year, STEM Girls initiated its first regional branch with the introduction of the Whyalla group. The program grew to two groups and 40 girls. This was an exciting addition as the regional girls travelled to Adelaide for the networking event and industry tour.

Greater regional engagement occurred and STEM Girls commenced in Mount Gambier in 2017. This addition increased the cohort to three groups and 60 girls. Staying connected to the STEM Girls after year 11 became a focus, and six of the 2016 STEM Girls were hosted at the International Women’s Day breakfast.

In 2018, our current STEM Girls Champion, Professor Tanya Monro, was appointed and the STEM Girls program continued to expand. An additional metropolitan group commenced, and the cohort grew to four groups and 90 girls. UniSA Connect also hosted six of the 2017 STEM Girls at the International Women’s Day breakfast.  Of the 2018 STEM Girls cohort of 81, 84% applied to a university program, with 72% of those students undertaking a STEM related course.

Our 2019 program continued to expand partnership engagement and the number of girls participating increased to 83. Several of the 2018 STEM Girls attended the International Women’s Day Breakfast and Beyond STEM Girls Research Day.

STEM Girls is part of the University’s Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) strategy. SAGE is a University initiative and links to the Australian Government’s request to the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering to develop a Women in STEM Decadal Plan. Read more.

Meet the team

Maria VieiraMaria Vieira | PROGRAM OFFICER

With a Master Degree in Psychology of Creativity, she is undertaking a PhD Research around the contribution of design-thinking to creative confidence among female STEM students. Prior to joining the UniSA Connect team, she dedicated more than ten years to marketing and communication working with leading global brands in the STEM field.


Vanessa GormanVanessa Gorman | STEM CONSULTANT

Having held Head of Mathematics positions in secondary schools for nearly fifteen years, Vanessa is a skilled and experienced Mathematics and Science high school educator. Her educational pedagogy aims to inspire students to ask ‘why’ and understand ‘how’ concepts work and to show how they fit into the bigger picture within the subject and then be applied with an interdisciplinary focus.


Simon LeonardSimon Leonard | DIRECTOR

Expert in the translation of the science of learning to practical learning design, he has worked on many large educational development programs supported by the Australian Government including Early Learning STEM Australia and the Training of Maths and Science Teachers. As leader of UniSA’s schools outreach programs, Leonard will oversee project implementation.