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Jessica Storrar is mad about STEM


Young woman with light brown hair wearing glasses and black school jacket stands in front of a sign which says ‘pathways to Indigenous students, Indigenous education’.
Jessica Storrar
25 Sep 2018

Winning the chance to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is no ordinary award.

But then Jessica Storrar, an Indigenous year 12 Gungahlin College student from the ACT, is no ordinary science student.

‘When we first arrived, it was fairly overwhelming as I had never really seen a science fair in person, let alone on such a wide scale,’ Jessica said.

‘However, as we started to walk around and meet the competitors and discuss their projects with them this feeling was replaced with admiration for the diverse range of talented and driven students who made it there.’

‘They all had unique projects with very obvious real-life implications which have the potential to change people’s lives.'

Jessica is passionate about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and currently undertakes an extension course in biodiversity at the Australian National University.

In 2016, she attended the Aboriginal Summer School for Excellence in Science and Technology (ASSETS) and won the Engineering Games held by Australian National University.

She has also competed in the Australian Science Competition, Big Science Competition, ICAS Science Competition and the Australian National Chemistry Quiz.

Jessica recently completed a work placement at Canberra Hospital where she observed work in the orthopaedic, cardiovascular and urology departments and interacted with patients and their families.

Jessica hopes to pursue medicine after high school with a particular interest in paediatric surgery, a highly competitive area of medicine.

Oh, and Jessica won the 2017 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student STEM Achievement Award.

‘Meeting the other Indigenous STEM Award Winners earlier in the year was both motivating and inspirational,’ Jessica said.

‘To hear each of their stories and learn how they got to where they are and have achieved what they have was genuinely life-changing. In particular, hearing from Dr Misty Jenkins and Shailyn who are undertaking pathways similar to what I want to pursue motivated me to continue down my intended medical pathway.’

There is a long way to go for Jessica but already she has learned lessons she wishes to pass on.

‘If anyone else came to me wanting advice about pursuing STEM I would tell them two things; firstly, don’t let other people’s opinions of who you are or what they think your capabilities are stand in the way of you following your passions and dreams,’ Jessica said.

‘Secondly, take every opportunity you can get to learn about STEM and what a career in it realistically entails; whether these opportunities be CSIRO’s ASSETS or a similar program or simply going to university open days and asking the questions you really need answers to.’

Find out more

The Indigenous STEM Awards recognise, reward and celebrate the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and scientists who are studying and working in the STEM field, as well as the integral role schools, teachers and mentors have in supporting those students and scientists.

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