STEM Thriving at Santa Maria

What is STEM?

STEM is more than just an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – it is a way of thinking and looking at the world.  The attributes of curiosity, critical thinking and creativity are at the heart of STEM.

Why is it important for our girls to study STEM?

“While the demand for STEM professionals is strong, there are not enough people with STEM skills and qualifications. As a nation, we need to address this gap to secure Australia’s international competitiveness.” BHP ‘The Future of STEM Education is Clear, 2021

If more STEM professionals are needed for the future, females need to provide a greater proportion of these professionals, ensuring longevity of the industry and the economic growth of Australia.

As they say, ‘if you can’t see it, you can’t be it’ so this week, all of our Year 9 girls and 25 Years 10 and 11 girls attended The Innovators’ Tea Party presentations by women working in and researching STEM fields. The girls gained great insights into what it is like to work as a veterinarian, medical researcher, engineer, and emergency doctor, and the many different pathways these women took to reach their goals. The key messages for our girls were: don’t worry if you fail – just keep trying, do what you love to do, and say ‘yes’ to opportunities.

How is Santa challenging the STEM stereotypes?

As well as world-class science facilities, our students have teachers and leaders who are passionate about inspiring girls to continue their fascination with STEM. For example, our suite of science electives such as STENgineers, Science Quest and BrainSTEM provide students with the chance to investigate, experiment and collaborate to improve the world around them.

According to the ‘Growing up in Australia’ report (2019), when comparing Years 11 and 12 students in ATAR courses across Australia, girls are less likely to be involved in STEM courses as shown below:


Boys %

Girls %

SMC Students%

Maths (Applications, Methods, and Specialist)




Science (Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology and Physics)












As the data shows, the girls at Santa Maria College are ahead of the curve when it comes to studying science and maths subjects in Years 11 and 12. Many of our students follow their interest in STEM into university undergraduate courses and we can’t wait to see our girls turn their passion for STEM into careers that help advance our economy while living the Mercy values.

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