AFR Higher Education Award for STEM inclusion program


Future in their hands: NISEP has supported and trained more than 1000 Indigenous students as leaders.

A Macquarie-based program that uses science to inspire Indigenous young people into leadership roles has been named a winner in this year’s Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards.

The National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP), based within the Faculty of Science and Engineering, won the Opportunity and Inclusion category against a strong field of contenders from around Australia.

Under the guidance of Associate Professor Joanne Jamie, Dr Ian Jamie, Associate Professor Subramanyam Vemulpad and Dr Emma Barnes, NISEP comprises of a collective of Aboriginal Elders, academics and high school staff.

By fostering and nurturing interests in science and more broadly STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) studies, the program encourages Indigenous school students to consider tertiary education whilst promoting the use of their knowledge to spark science-based discussions within Indigenous communities. The program was formed after Elders from the Yaegl and Bundjalung Countries asked Macquarie to assist in building educational aspirations among their young people.

Since 2005, NISEP has reached and engaged with thousands of Indigenous students through various activities and events. It currently partners with 11 high schools in low socio-economic rural, regional and metropolitan areas, and has a presence in three universities. Despite COVID-19, over the past 18 months, NISEP has placed 60 students into leadership positions. Over the course of its history, the program has supported and trained more than 1000 students as leaders.

“We are so thrilled that NISEP has been awarded AFR’s Opportunity and Inclusion Award,” says Joanne. “It well and truly signifies the importance of nurturing opportunities for inclusive education and providing greater access for all students.

“The future of STEM in our country is no doubt a bright and bold one, thanks to the keen interest from our students involved in the program and their passions to ignite conversations around education in their communities.”

Learn more about the National Indigenous Science Education Program.





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