To ensure that the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce of the future is inclusive of diverse peoples and ideas, there is a need to ensure that STEM outreach activities that encourage students into STEM education and careers are inclusive of and provide equity for people from diverse racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and academic backgrounds. Since 2004, the National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP), based at Macquarie University, Sydney, has been using best ethical and inclusion strategies to engage with Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students and their communities. This publication discusses the inclusion and equity strategies utilized by NISEP, including community consultation, student leadership and autonomy, volunteer mentors, and the respectful and best practice use of Indigenous knowledge. These factors have all contributed to NISEP's success in increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students' aspiration toward and engagement with secondary and tertiary education.
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We acknowledge first and foremost the Yaegl Aboriginal Elders, along with Elders from Bundjalung and Wiradjuri Countries, for their generosity in sharing their knowledge, their deep commitment to keeping their culture alive, and their passion in educating youth and the public. We especially acknowledge Uncle Ronald Heron, Aunty Carmel Charlton, Aunty Judith Breckenridge, Aunty Rosemary Vesper, and Aunty Lenore Parker. We also acknowledge Noeline Kapeen, CEO Yaegl Local Aboriginal Land Council. We acknowledge NISEP’s school partners—Maclean High School, Casino High School, Lismore High School, Mount Austin High School, Kooringal High School, and the Chifley College Campuses. We also acknowledge the support of the Widening Participation Unit and Walanga Muru at Macquarie University. We thank John Hunter, Sonal Singh, Gail Whiteford, and Bronwen Wade-Leeuwen for their assistance in data collection and discussions. Special thanks go to all of the STEM collaborators who have contributed to NISEP over the years including (but not limited to) Renee Cawthorne, Emilie Ens (Macquarie University), Carolyn Kennett (Numeracy Centre, Macquarie University), Ben Newsome and the Fizzics Education team, Kristina Karasulas and the Redfern Community Centre team, Roberto Giunta (StoryMotive), Robert Fuller (Australian Indigenous Astronomy), and Judy Harrington (BirdLife). Thanks also go to other past and present NISEP team members including (but not limited to) Joshua Wilson, Erin Rozgonyi, and Kaisarun Akter and to all the wonderful Macquarie University students who have contributed to building the confidence of the NISEP student leaders and running of NISEP events. The biggest thanks go to all of the fantastic NISEP secondary student leaders we have had the pleasure of working with over the years. We acknowledge financial support from the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE), Inspiring Australia (Unlocking Australia’s full potential scheme, Grant UL010076), and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP), through Macquarie University’s LEAP (Learning, Education, Aspiration, Participation) program, and a HEPPP 2014 National Priorities Pool grant. Further small grants supporting NISEP events include from Coca Cola Australia Foundation and St. George Foundation, along with annual National Science Week grants from the Australian Government.
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- Hands-On Learning/Manipulatives
- High School/Introductory Chemistry
- Minorities in Chemistry
- Public Understanding/Outreach
- Student-Centered Learning