Bendigo's Jodie Palmer takes on 'male dominated' science and technology workforce – Bendigo Advertiser


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BENDIGO’S Jodie Palmer has made it her mission to bridge the gap in young girls continuing to pursue careers science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields beyond high school. After not being interested in the subjects during her early high school years, a few great teachers lead Ms Palmer to think of pursuing a career in the sports science field. More news: Bendigo youth-focused psychology clinic Get Psych’d opens “I lived in Jamestown, SA and while I went to high school there I honestly wasn’t interested in maths or science,” she said. “I was a bit of a rebellious kid and my teachers couldn’t get me to work. And I actually felt I wasn’t very good at those subjects so that made me feel like I couldn’t do it. “But I went to boarding school in Adelaide for Year 10, 11 and 12 and that’s when I started to change my mind. More stories: “I felt more engaged by those teachers then and that’s when I decided to go into that field for my career.” Ms Palmer continued on to complete a Bachelor of Engineering and a Master of Science (Sports and Exercise) before coming to Bendigo to begin her PhD. “I started off my tertiary education studying sports engineering, which meant I was able to learn everything a mechanical engineer does but with specialised sport subjects on the side,” she said. More news: Bendigo research reveals recruitment secret for next AFL generation “It was interesting, but most of the jobs were in research and development, which can be hard to come by in Australia. “I know there aren’t a lot of women in these fields, but that doesn’t make the jobs any easier to come by.” According to a Sunsilk Rethink study, only 18 per cent of women go on to study STEM at a tertiary level – a 50 per cent drop off rate from the 36 per cent of girls studying these subjects in Year 11 and 12. More news: Lockdown Gastronomy Degustation a treat for diners and an aid for businesses during lockdown Participation drops even further after undergraduate study, with only 4 per cent of women studying STEM at a postgraduate level and a low 2.5 per cent at a Masters/PhD level. This follows the findings of a recent government report which found that Australian women’s participation in STEM-qualified occupations makes up only 13 per cent of the science and technology industry. Read more: Most new COVID-19 cases fully isolated while infectious as business support flows Ms Palmer said she has felt the affects of these numbers throughout her years of education. “It really can be a male dominated industry and that brings a lot of challenges for us women,” she said. “There have been times when I haven’t been taken seriously because of my gender or I remember, during my undergraduate degree, we had to do a big presentation to the public. More news: Bendigo drug trafficker pleads guilty after police raid “We went to an event centre and set up booths about our projects. All the members of the faculty that graded my project were men and I had one other man come up to me and say my whole booth was irrelevant and meaningless. “I want to dedicate my career to using my knowledge and skills to making changes and making sure women are more represented in these industries. More news: Council’s draft gambling policy could impact veteran support, RSL says “And also be able to support female sporting sides and give them the resources they need to stay in the game.” But she said she didn’t want other young women to be deterred from entering the fields. “Even though it’s been very challenging, I try to remind myself that just doing this and being visible is helping other women come into these industries,” she said. “We really need more women purely because it would bring a lot of diversity in expertise and perspective and we can do these jobs, women can be a part of these industries.” Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:

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