More than fifty female students and educators from schools across Central Victoria gathered on Friday morning for breakfast to celebrate their love of physics and hear inspiring journeys from women with careers in science. The event was one of a series across Melbourne and regional Victoria, encouraging school girls to meet with women in the early and later stages of their careers in the hopes of encouraging them to continue to pursue their interests in physics while in school and university.

The Girls in Physics Breakfast is jointly coordinated by La Trobe University’s College of Science, Health and Engineering and the VicPhysics Teachers’ Network.

Students attended from Cruse College, East Loddon Secondary School, Bendigo Senior Secondary

schools, Seymour College and Bendigo South East College. They were mentored at tables which had local women and with careers in science or engineering and had the chance to share on career options, university life and working in STEM in regional Australia. GLLEN also provided scientists who are part of their Young Industry Ambassador program to mentor the students. Scientists Laura and Amy from MSD Animal Health and Danielle from Synchrotron in Melbourne.

A special part of the morning involved an address from Professor Frances Separovic titled ‘MRI of Molecules – Biophysics meets Cell Chemistry’.

Prof Frances is currently Professor of Chemistry and Deputy Director of the Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute at the University of Melbourne. Her address was deeply empowering and provided depth of insight into her career in physics and science and the advances that have been made over the years for women in the field.

Jill Clapham, a teacher from Crusoe College said the journey that Frances has taken and the amazing experiences that she shared with the students was inspiring and so important, especially when she emphasised that it’s okay if they don’t know exactly where they want to be in the future.

“Our students are at the point where they’re choosing subjects to get into university courses, but they’re not really sure where they’re going. Frances shared a strong message encouraging them to follow their interests and that there’s more than one way to get to where they want to go. The girls know they need confidence to get out there and follow what they’re passionate about doing and if they’re not on the right track, there’ll be a branch somewhere down the road that will take them to the right place.”

This event was sponsored by the Laby Foundation, ANSTO, Vicphysics Teachers’ Network, the Victorian Branch of the Australian Institute of Physics, the College of Science, Health and Engineering at La Trobe University and supported by Federal Government’s Inspiring Australia – Inspiring Science Program.