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Sophie Brouwer

What led you into your current area of study and why do you enjoy STEMM?

I had always enjoyed maths and science in school, in particular, chemistry, and so I always knew I would do something related to that. I have an analytical mind and so solving problems always made sense to me and I loved the satisfaction of finishing off a complex problem. Initially, I chose to do chemical engineering but decided to change courses and took 6 months off to think about what I enjoyed doing. I knew I loved chemistry and I loved helping people, so once the idea of becoming a science teacher got into my head, it didn’t leave. I am now 1.5 years into my teaching degree and I have never looked back. I know that I have the ability to inspire and make a big difference to teenagers’ lives one day and that really excites me.

Aspiring to being a teacher, what do you think is important for our next generation of students who will face the outcomes of the current technological expansion?

I think it is vital to educate them on the importance of technology in the world, not just their mobile phones, by showing them real world applications of technology, instead of just theory. It is important for teachers to make what they are teaching relevant to students, so by including real world examples or hands on experiences, students are more likely to remain engaged.

There should be a push towards higher order thinking, instead of traditional methods, to nurture more innovative and creative young adults, who are capable of adapting to and continuing to expand technology.

Teachers should also encourage all students, male and female, to do the STEMM subjects. I think if a student is willing to put in the effort, they can achieve. We should not be discouraging students who have a passion for these areas. The more students we have pursuing these areas, the more diversity and the more innovation in the future.

What general advice would you give to students aspiring to a career in STEMM?

I think the most important thing to consider when choosing your career, is to choose something that you love and can see yourself doing for the rest of your life. If STEMM is that, then there should be nothing holding you back. Although it may be a challenging career, it will be the most rewarding if it is what you love doing. There is going to be so much innovation in the next generations and you have a chance to be a part of that which is something quite amazing.

How do you ensure you get a good balance between studies and your current role within the Marketing and Communications Services Centre at ECU?

I have been working since I have been in high school so I have become accustomed to balancing work and study. Study always comes first, but I know that I have the ability to work at the same time. I am a full time student who also works 20+ hours each week.

I am very good at managing my time, always ensuring to start my assignments early enough to get them in before the due date, without pulling all-nighters. I know myself and I know how long it takes me to do assignments, so I plan accordingly to get the work done.

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