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Local students attend networking event with inspirational women

Women in STEM

Around 40 girls from Kempsey High School had the opportunity to network with a diverse range of inspirational women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) today.

The Women in STEM event is part of a STEM Industry School Partnerships initiative and allows school students to learn more about careers involving science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Mid North Coast Regional Development Australia pathways officer Steve Montgomery said the event was held to inspire girls in Year 7 to Year 11 to pursue studies and career paths in a STEM focused area.

"Women are very much underrepresented in STEM courses, that's why today is so important for the students to see the possibilities and career options," he said.

"It wasn't difficult to get the 20 women here today, everyone wanted to get behind this event."

Mayor Liz Campbell was at the event today and encouraged the girls to get involved in the workshops and ask questions.

"If you dream of something, go and get it. Learn from these inspirational women here today," she said.

Women who are CEOs, business founders, environmental planers, business owners and managers were involved in the event and spoke to the students before having more in depth small group discussions with the girls.

Regional manager for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands with Cisco Networking Academy Emma Broadbent said her job role is all about STEM.

"I'm excited to be right in the heart of technology. I get exposure to the latest technology advancements and help teachers gain training and access tools and content to teach students the most important skills they need to be successful in jobs in technology," she said.

"Cisco have 120 partners, which are universities or schools, across Australia and New Zealand as well as five in the Pacific Islands. It's a very rewarding role, being able to manage the partnership with institutions who adopt workforce technology courses to develop ICT skills."

Workforce development manager with NSW Cyber Security Innovation Node Sarah Box also spoke to the students about entering into a STEM career.

"I work with schools existing STEM programs and link them with cyber security knowledge. Creating awareness of what cyber security is and showing that it's not scary is something my job involves, also explaining how you can get involved in cyber security is one of my roles."

The event mainly consisted of informal networking groups to encourage aspirational conversations between the girls and the inspiring women.

"This is the first event like this we've held here in Kempsey, it's something that we would like to continue and make it an ongoing networking event for local students," Mr Montgomery said.

This article was written by Ruby Pascoe and was originally published in The Macleary Argus. Read it here.