The federal government has pledged $100,000 to upgrade programs that will see STEM researchers talking in regional and Aboriginal communities in order to promote more young people to choose a career in scientific fields.

STARSMAP or Scientists Taking Astronomy to Regional Schools map, is a program headed by the Australian National University which operates across 50 schools across the country with plans to take the program to the Torres Strait Islands.

ANU Astronomer and Kamilaroi man Peter Swanton said that the program will mix science with traditional stories and culture to engage the students.

“We don’t only do the really cool things with the telescopes and stuff like that, I tell a lot of cultural stories.

And we sort of have this narrative that we tell right from the first astronomers that we’ve been doing it for thousands of years, right up till what we’re doing in mars and in the future as well,” he said.

Swanton says that part of what makes the program so important is that it gives students Indigenous representation in the sciences.

“When I was in high school I was always quite good at maths but I was really disengaged.

If I had someone like me come to my high school, an Aboriginal person who was in STEM maybe I would been a little bit more engaged and wanted to engage with science a little bit more.

And it wouldn’t have taken me 10 to 15 years after I left high school before I eventually went and got my undergraduate degree,” he said.

Full interview:

Image Credit: Dualiti Photos