Educating for a tech future

MAKING SCIENCE COOL: From left are Charelle Pere from the Ministry of Education, Michelle Dickinson aka Nanogirl and Activate Tairawhiti chief executive Steve Breen after a breakfast meeting for with Gisborne teachers as part of a Science in Industry Day. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

WITH the goal of breaking down stereotypes and making science fun, Dr Michelle Dickinson or Nanogirl inspired Gisborne people this week with her infectious enthusiasm for science and education.

Speaking yesterday at a Science in Industry Day organised by ECT/Activate Tairawhiti and the Ministry of Education she said she wanted to make science more accesible especially for those groups underrepresented in the science and technology sector such as girls, Maori and Pacific Islanders.

She is touring of the country with her Nanogirl show and did two performances at Gisborne’s War Memorial Theatre on Tuesday.

Through a partnership with the MacDiarmed Institute, the Nanogirl team also engages with students throughout the country, demonstrating exciting experiments and providing teachers with lesson plans and curriculum material to support the delivery of science lessons in schools.

She visited Makaraka and Manutuke Schools in Gisborne sharing her love of science with the younger generation.

She believes children have made up their minds about science by the age of 12 so wants to spark their interest early. Her Nanogirl show with its explosive experiments is targeted at children as young as five.

In 2009 she built a nanotech laboratory in Auckland, the only one of its kind in Australasia. Before that she worked for Apple when they were designing the first iphone. She has also been employed as a consultant for Richard Branson and counts Jacinda Ardern as one of her close friends.

Lecturer at University of Auckland

For the last eight years she has been a lecturer in engineering at The University of Auckland. Her laboratory was privately funded by American companies for whom she does consultancy work, and the Nanogirl Live science and engineering show is self-funded using money from ticket sales.

Through a partnership with the MacDiarmed Institute, the Nanogirl team engages with students throughout the country, demonstrating exciting experiments and providing teachers with lesson plans and curriculum material to support science lessons in schools.

“We’re constantly working to innovate, to find new approaches to inspire, educate and empower as many people as possible in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Nanogirl Labs co-founder and managaging director Joe Davis.

From a young age Michelle was interested in how technology works and tells of helping out her dad working with him at the kitchen table on circuit boards using a soldering iron. She was not from a privileged background and began her university studies on a scholarship. Any further study she did, and there has been 12 years in total, was funded by private sector sponsorship.

As part of the Science in Industry Day programme teachers visited Eastland Wood Council, Tangihanga Station, Kaiaponi, Riversun’s Linnaeus Laboratory and the Gisborne District Council.

“Ultimately the Science in Industry Day was about exposing the science related careers available right here in Tairawhiti,” said Charelle Pere from the Ministry of Education.

There was also a presentation from Futureintech, an initiative of Engineering New Zealand, which aims to encourage students into the technology, engineering and science professions. Futureintech works with teachers and careers advisors to bring people from industry into schools. Futureintech connects schools with industry ambassadors whose role it is to engage and inspire students, share stories and pathways and provide a ‘real world’ context for learning.

The Ministry of Education was thrilled to be collaborating with Activate Tairawhiti to support practical opportunities for teachers to better understand the pathways into careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Maths) said MOE director of education for Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne Roy Sye.

“This ensures that teachers are better informed to encourage and support learners to explore STEM career options. Building relationships between industry and employers with our schools is an important area of focus across the region.”

WITH the goal of breaking down stereotypes and making science fun, Dr Michelle Dickinson or Nanogirl inspired Gisborne people this week with her infectious enthusiasm for science and education.

Speaking yesterday at a Science in Industry Day organised by ECT/Activate Tairawhiti and the Ministry of Education she said she wanted to make science more accesible especially for those groups underrepresented in the science and technology sector such as girls, Maori and Pacific Islanders.

She is touring of the country with her Nanogirl show and did two performances at Gisborne’s War Memorial Theatre on Tuesday.

Through a partnership with the MacDiarmed Institute, the Nanogirl team also engages with students throughout the country, demonstrating exciting experiments and providing teachers with lesson plans and curriculum material to support the delivery of science lessons in schools.

She visited Makaraka and Manutuke Schools in Gisborne sharing her love of science with the younger generation.

She believes children have made up their minds about science by the age of 12 so wants to spark their interest early. Her Nanogirl show with its explosive experiments is targeted at children as young as five.

In 2009 she built a nanotech laboratory in Auckland, the only one of its kind in Australasia. Before that she worked for Apple when they were designing the first iphone. She has also been employed as a consultant for Richard Branson and counts Jacinda Ardern as one of her close friends.

Lecturer at University of Auckland

For the last eight years she has been a lecturer in engineering at The University of Auckland. Her laboratory was privately funded by American companies for whom she does consultancy work, and the Nanogirl Live science and engineering show is self-funded using money from ticket sales.

Through a partnership with the MacDiarmed Institute, the Nanogirl team engages with students throughout the country, demonstrating exciting experiments and providing teachers with lesson plans and curriculum material to support science lessons in schools.

“We’re constantly working to innovate, to find new approaches to inspire, educate and empower as many people as possible in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Nanogirl Labs co-founder and managaging director Joe Davis.

From a young age Michelle was interested in how technology works and tells of helping out her dad working with him at the kitchen table on circuit boards using a soldering iron. She was not from a privileged background and began her university studies on a scholarship. Any further study she did, and there has been 12 years in total, was funded by private sector sponsorship.

As part of the Science in Industry Day programme teachers visited Eastland Wood Council, Tangihanga Station, Kaiaponi, Riversun’s Linnaeus Laboratory and the Gisborne District Council.

“Ultimately the Science in Industry Day was about exposing the science related careers available right here in Tairawhiti,” said Charelle Pere from the Ministry of Education.

There was also a presentation from Futureintech, an initiative of Engineering New Zealand, which aims to encourage students into the technology, engineering and science professions. Futureintech works with teachers and careers advisors to bring people from industry into schools. Futureintech connects schools with industry ambassadors whose role it is to engage and inspire students, share stories and pathways and provide a ‘real world’ context for learning.

The Ministry of Education was thrilled to be collaborating with Activate Tairawhiti to support practical opportunities for teachers to better understand the pathways into careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Maths) said MOE director of education for Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne Roy Sye.

“This ensures that teachers are better informed to encourage and support learners to explore STEM career options. Building relationships between industry and employers with our schools is an important area of focus across the region.”

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