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INtroducing Teresa Janowski & STEM Fast Track


We’d love to give a big, warm welcome to Teresa Janowski from STEM Fast Track who steps into the business spotlight this month! 

Jess from Jess McEachen Copywriting has a young daughter who loves her STEM lessons, so she was so curious to discover the story behind STEM Fast Track. And, Jess walked away so inspired!

In this chat, you can just feel the passion & dedication that Teresa has for her work, and for the many young women who go through her incredible STEM Sistas program. You’ll read about how Teresa has now delivered her programs in Adelaide, right across the globe to Krakow, Poland! We also dive right into the exciting ESTEAM Summit coming up in October, and *Spoiler Alert*, if you look closely, you’ll find a sneak peek of what’s coming up next for STEM Fast Track! Teresa also reveals how being in the SA Woman membership feels so inclusive & welcoming, and how last year’s SAW Summit left her bursting with ideas!

This is a such a heartfelt & inspiring read and we’re so grateful to have Teresa & STEM Fast Track with us in the Business Spotlight for August.

// Thank you for joining us in the Biz Spotlight in August! For those who haven’t come across you yet, can you please introduce us to STEM Fast Track and who you love to work with?

At STEM Fast Track we run real life mentoring programs to inspire students to pursue a career in STEM.

Our flagship program is STEM Sista.  The program is run over three days at industry partners, such as Defence SA, Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre, AWS and Adelaide University.

These industry partners understand what we do and why we do it and support our purpose.

 

// Can you also let us in on how STEM FastTrack was born and have you come from a career in STEM yourself?

I used to be the General Manager of a Not for Profit where we ran STEM programs with Industry at schools.  It was there that I created STEM Sista & STEM Mista. 

When the Not for Profit closed, I bought the rights to run the programs I created.  We had momentum and I saw the impact we were having, and I really wanted to maintain the momentum.

And, yes!  I studied Computer Science at University of South Australia and have worked at Telstra, Motorola Software Centre, BAE Systems, and SAAB Technologies. 

I’ve always been interested in how & why things work and if they can work better especially with people.

 

// I have to tell you – I have an 8yo daughter who absolutely LOVES coming home telling me about her STEM lessons at school! What do you feel has created the huge increase in visibility & popularity of STEM with school students? Then, how is this translating into the amount of school leavers who now decide to go into STEM-based careers?

That’s so wonderful!  It’s so important to keep young minds interested.  Being interested in what they do and asking them what they think further stimulates their mind.

Did you know that it only take four dinner table conversation in one year to impact your child’s career choice? Yep only four!

There is a massive shortage in industry for STEM capable employees now and in the future. Its taken a while but the demand has rippled through to schools.

The impact on school leavers is not that great.  Students are choosing careers in STEM but not as many as we need. We have a long way to go. 

Girls are impacted as young as 9 for their career choice. Boys it’s around 14 or 15.

 

// Oh my goodness, I absolutely love the sound of your STEM Sista program! As you talk about on your website, it’s such an incredible opportunity to empower young women who enjoy STEM subjects, by showing them the possibilities and introducing them to a variety of women in STEM, ranging from students at university, graduates, to successful women in their career.

I’ve got tingles! So, tell us – how did you come up with the idea for STEM Sista & is it run only in Adelaide?

I was so lucky to attend amazing Personal Development programs while I was at Telstra and Motorola.  They had a great impact on me.  My world just exploded, and I became the Personal Development evangelist.

Everyone I knew needed to do a personality profile, do a star map of their current strengths and weaknesses etc.  I eventually learnt that it was about me learning about me, and me being a better me to understand other people better.

I wanted to share my knowledge and help girls learn people skills so they can be smart and confident.

We began with our first program in 2014 with 12 girls, each year we doubled and now have over 700 girls that have been through the program.

We have delivered the program in Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney in Australia and Krakow, Poland. We will be launching fully online in 2022 and delivering our programs in the US, Asia and Europe.

We seek to cultivate young minds that will one day pioneer the technological advancements of tomorrow, giving humanity and our planet the best possible future.

Our flagship program is STEM Sista. We began with our first program in 2014 with 12 girls, each year we doubled and now have over 700 girls that have been through the program.

We have delivered the program in Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney in Australia and Krakow, Poland.  We will be launching fully online in 2022 and delivering our programs in the US, Asia and Europe.

Teresa Janowski

STEM FastTrack

// Out of interest, who do you partner with to inspire & empower each intake? Who’s been your most interesting guest speaker?

We have over 80 mentors, speakers, and past STEM Sistas and Mistas that speak at our events.

We always deliver the programs at our industry partners’ boardrooms and meeting rooms.  Its important the students see professional work places and feel like they belong.

In terms of most interesting, this is a difficult question as we have had literally hundreds of presenters and so many of them were truly amazing, all in very different ways.

If I had to pick one it would be Flavia Tata Nardini as she was genuine, authentic, funny, proud to be a mum, super smart and rocked it.  A great role model.

 

// Wow! That just sounds amazing! How have you changed the program over the 7 years it’s been running to keep it inspiring & relevant? And *spoiler alert* – can we ask for a sneak peek into what’s coming next?

The core modules have remained the same but it’s how we deliver the content and who delivers the content that has changed. 

In the beginning I delivered a lot of the content but now each day we have past STEM Sistas deliver modules and share their experiences.

It’s so good when girls share what they have used from STEM Sista and explain it to the current cadre. That was always the plan from the start way back in 2014, that they pass it forward.

What’s next?  So many exciting programs!  We have the ESTEAM Summit being held in October and Cyber Sista launching in December.

 

// “Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity.”

Ooh, this is a powerful quote on your website from Mae Jemison – a Physicist and the First Female African American Astronaut in space.

Do you feel like these are three keys to really blossoming in a STEM career? For the STEM Sistas who’ve been through your program – where are they now?

I have so many stories to share! 

The most recent one is of Sarah.  She did the STEM Sista program three times by choice!  In year 9 as she was recommended by her teacher at Mitcham Girls.  She moved schools to Blackwood High and received a STEM Scholarship.  She used part of the funds to the do STEM Sista programs again, this time in year 10 and got so much out of it.  Then she moved schools again, this time to ASMS and chose to attend STEM Sista for a final time.

She got so much out of it that she started sharing her application of the modules and without really knowing it – started teaching!

Sarah is now studying Medical Science at Adelaide Uni and loving it. She is in two bands, plays 6 musical instruments and has a part time job.

The moment that brought Teresa Janowski to tears!

I almost cried today as she showed me the photo here of her at the Barr Smith Library studying.  This was on her goal sheet for several years since the first STEM Sista she attended.  Sarah can tick that box!

There is also Celeste who did the very first STEM Sista program. She has massive drive and incredible determination. She is 21 and recently bought a house by herself! Is studying at TAFE, has a full-time job and a parttime dog walking business.

Another wonderful young woman is Summer, she is studying naval architecture and loves creating things ie LEGO! Summer was a lecturer in her second year at uni as she was so competent and brave enough to go for it.  What a legend.

 

// You’ve also got another exciting event coming up – the ESTEAM Summit! Can you please tell us more about this, who it’s open to & what those attending are going to come away with?

ESTEAM Summit is a competition where the brightest young minds around the state come up with solutions to  the world’s problems using Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art (and Design), and Mathematics.

It’s also an amazing opportunity for students from upper primary to high school to showcase their projects! 

Step 1, Students Register, Step 2 they choose a problem to solve, Step 3 they create the solution to the problem and submit the solution as an entry to the ESTEAM Summit. 

The top 5 finalists in each category will be chosen to present (live or via zoom) at the ESTEAM Summit at Stone & Chalk on Friday 22 October between 9am to 3.30pm. 

Students will come away with experience in presenting to judges and gaining feedback and the winners will win prizes worth up to $1000.

 

// Now for one of your own quotes…”We seek to cultivate young minds that will one day pioneer the technological advancements of tomorrow, giving humanity and our planet the best possible future.”

This is so refreshing to read! In what industries do you see STEM coming to the fore in the coming years to create a better future for us all?

Space, artificial intelligence, food technology, health, cyber, aging, communication ie using nonconventional channels to communicate

We will see people re-joining the workforce, changing careers later in life and blending careers.

 

// I noticed on your socials that you love to share different tips & tricks to crush it in life & study! What are some of your favourite life hacks?

Hmmm that’s a great question!

Be open to learning from anyone and everyone. 

AND

Work where it works for you.

I’ll explain I need to work in either utter silence or in chaos.  You will find me working in 2-hour blocks in busy cafes or late at night as I just love the silence of the night.

 

// We love having your smiling face in our membership! What do you love about being a member of SA Woman and what have you gained from it?

It’s so inclusive, friendly, and welcoming.  You can attend any event and feel like you are part of this amazing network of women.

Everyone is willing to share and help!

The full day summit before the awards was jam packed with so many goodies.  I was hoping to get a few good tips – but it was nonstop interesting.

 

// Lastly, a question we do love to ask everyone – where are your favourite spots for a delish working lunch?

That’s easy, its Sficio on The Parade.  I love the coffee, chicken salad and the yummy breakfasts. I often have meetings there or go there to eat and get some work done.

 

Thanks for chatting with us Teresa!


Find out more about STEM FastTrack:

 

Join the next round! STEM Sista 3 Day Program

Enter to win! ESTEAM Summit

Facebook: STEM Fast Track

Instagram@stemfasttrack

LinkedIn: Teresa Janowski

Websitewww.stemfasttrack.com.au