We have never been at a more exciting time in educating girls. As we systematically move away from the stereotyped perception that girls are good at English and the humanities, we open the door to the worlds of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in new and exciting ways.
Dr Briony Scott
STEM initiatives at Wenona include a new Space Science Club, a visit by vintage car clubs, a weekly mathematics competition for our community, robotics, programming, and app development.
Wenona has an excellent academic record in the HSC with strong results in English, the creative arts, languages and social sciences, but we are by no means limited by these successes. The world is changing in many ways, and the expectation that girls will be leaders, actively participating across all domains, is as strong as it has ever been.
Among our Wenona alumnae are a number of pioneers in medicine and science, including the late Dr Judith Dey AO whose ground-breaking work with children with Down Syndrome improved many lives.
Wenona applauds the contributions of globally renowned marine biochemist the late Dr Shirley Jeffrey AM (1947), another Wenona alumna, and we are actively encouraging our girls to consider how STEM subjects can help them to serve and shape their worlds.
Our young “rocketeers” in Wenona’s Space Science Club are wholeheartedly enjoying their introduction to the concepts of orbital mechanics. They meet three times a week to refine their skills and understanding of space travel using a highly realistic rocket simulation program called Kerbal. This allows them to develop a deep understanding of the mechanics of rocketry and space exploration without the requirement of the high level of mathematics traditionally necessary in this field.
The visit by vintage car clubs on March 24 enabled all Wenona students to experience a range of classic and vintage vehicles from the 1920s to the present day. Our Year 11 Physics students will see for themselves some of the advances in car safety achieved over the last century, a requirement of their course.
This is an exciting time in history for young people, and particularly women, with advanced technologies giving them access to resources, ideas and skills like never before.
We have plans for Wenona to compete in the Sunsprint Model Solar Car Race in September, and as part of our commitment to embracing Design Thinking at Wenona, young women in Year eight will work with UNSW and UTS engineering students and lecturers to devise a realistic engineering solution to a practical problem they identify around the school.
Students in Years five and six will be involved in a robotics workshop during term three, hosted by Robogals, who are female undergraduate engineering students whose enthusiasm for their subject is infectious.
The next generation of young women are wonderful, inspiring and thoughtful. Given the chance, with high expectations across all disciplines, the humanities and STEM, these caring girls, who have grown up with our motto Ut Prosim, that I may serve, can and will change the world for the better. I am excited by what they can achieve for themselves and for others.
*Dr Briony Scott is principal of the Wenona School, North Sydney