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In 2019 Ivanhoe Girls’ partnered with the Bionics Institute to initiate the "Mentoring Girls in STEM Program". 

This unique learning model experience has seen leading female research scientists at the Bionics Institute mentor two Year 11 students. The program was designed to help girls become more engaged, educated and excited about a potential career in STEM.

The Bionics Institute is a world-leading centre of medical bionics device development. The Institute invests in research that ensures neurological conditions such as hearing loss, stroke, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease can be treated and overcome. 

Year 11 student Tara was mentored by Dr Sophie Payne, who is researching a bionic device to treat inflammatory bowel disease. Meanwhile, Emma joined forces with Associate Professor Rachael Richardson, who is working on improving the cochlear implant using a new technology called "optogenetics".

In October, Tara and Emma, as the first graduates of this program, were delighted to present their research findings to Bionics Institute staff, parents and teachers. They were presented with an award at a special ceremony at the Bionics Institute by the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services, The Hon. Jenny Mikakos (Class of 1986).

"At Ivanhoe Girls’ we prioritise learning that is collaborative, relevant and has strong connections to real-world experiences," says Principal, Dr Deborah Priest. "By working with industry partners, such as the Bionics Institute, we equip our students with not only the knowledge, but also the practical skills, capabilities and understanding of what is involved in working in medical research and development. It’s wonderful for our students to be working with strong female role models in an industry that will help them make informed decisions about their future pathway and career."