The Harding Miller Education Foundation is a volunteer powered organisation with over 130 volunteers working with us in 2022. Our biggest group of volunteers are our dedicated coaches who are a personal guide and support for the scholarship recipients through their scholarship and education journey. These coaches provide an invaluable connection between the various opportunities provided by the scholarship and the students’ current life and experience. They get to know them, build trust, and help them overcome the unique barriers that they face in their own lives. They are a cheerleader, a problem solver, and a trusted adviser. Through this relationship, coaches can anticipate issues and assist students to put in place early intervention strategies before they become unresolvable.
One of our valued coaches is Christina Reid. She is the Brand Manager for Furphy Beer (part of Lion Co). A New Zealand native, Christina graduated from the University of Waikato after spending a semester at the University of Arizona in the USA as part of her study programme. She has been a Harding Miller coach since January 2021 and currently coaches three of our year 10 scholars who are all based at the same school in Townsville.
An accomplished marketing professional, Christina heard about the Foundation from a friend who had recently applied to join our volunteer coaching team and immediately she felt a strong affinity to the students our scholarships support . Christina was attracted to the idea of becoming a Harding Miller coach because she grew up in a small, low socio-economic town in New Zealand and watched so many of her friends leave school early for a variety of different reasons. She wanted to help others realise their potential and not be limited by small-town educational and employment opportunities. She knows first-hand the power of a good education and wanted to share that with others!
Christina enjoyed meeting her scholars at last year’s awards night in Brisbane as she was able to cement the relationships she had already started to form with them remotely. She is in regular contact with the girls and has encouraged them to start tutoring and take advantage of the other scholarship tools on offer such as Studiosity. She shares a love of rugby league and, sport in general, with her scholars so their conversations are not just all about study and academic achievement!
Christina recently presented at a Harding Miller online Careers in Focus session where she was able to share her knowledge and passion for education, life and travel with a broader group of Harding Miller scholars, staff and coaches.
On the 13th of July we travelled to Sydney city with 3 of our scholars to visit the office of HoustonKemp Economists.
HoustonKemp is a new enrichment partner of Harding Miller and were keen to host a small group of students and introduce them to the wide and varied world of economics.
The enrichment day started with a workshop run by two staff members who explained the purpose of their work, how economics can be used to solve diverse and interesting problems and provide data to support clients to make good decisions. We learnt about the cost of supermarket products in New Zealand and the various factors which impact these costs to the consumer and the suppliers.
A highlight of the day was when we joined all the staff for their fortnightly team lunch, where there was a lively discussion about the economics of the energy transition in Australia. After lunch, they also tried their hand at identifying trends in a dataset and creating some very colourful charts with a small group of staff.
The energy, warmth and enthusiasm from the staff created a stimulating enrichment experience for our scholars and certainly changed the perception of economics. Being able to see and learn how economics solves real problems and can be applied in various industries certainly inspired the girls who attended on the day.
Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
On the 30th of June we travelled to the Lucas Heights campus of Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation for an onsite visit to the Lucas Heights Nuclear Reactor and Laboratories with 16 scholars to learn about the work done in various fields of science within the large facility. Scholars were invited to share lunch with a selection of female scientists who all had specialities within physics.
There was a tour of the facility, where we learnt that ANSTO is located on federal land and therefore we were technically leaving NSW. Due to the security requirements and restrictions of the site, we were not allowed any digital or photography devices on our tour.
As we progressed through the facility, we were met along the way by female scientists who gave a brief outline of their work and related their knowledge to real life examples. They were also able to link their knowledge and qualification to relevant aspects of the science curriculum.
The hosted lunch with a small group of woman scientists meant this casual meeting allowed the students to ask questions and chat informally. Each student was presented with a periodic table to take home, as this had been a great discussion tool while having lunch.
The final part of the program for the day was a Q & A panel discussion and the scholar’s gained information about Graduate programs and an insight into university life and degree choices.
The overwhelming feedback was positive and how this was a fantastic learning experience into the complexity of physics and how many various opportunities there are in science, and for woman.
HMEF has now been able to experience two enrichment days with ANSTO, Melbourne and Sydney and we can see the benefit of real-life application for STEM and the study of science.
We start to accept applications for 2024 scholarships in July 2023. The application period runs during Term 3 every year and closes in September.
During this time, the team at the Foundation connect with public schools around Australia via email marketing and social media to share the details, criteria and application information. For the first time last year, we held a webinar for Principals and school contacts. We had over 80 register for this event. Each year we target different States and Territories and/or different regions where application submissions are low or non-existent. We send a pack of information and follow up with calls and email communications to connect to these schools (largely in low socio or regional areas). Last year we targeted areas of WA, VIC, TAS and selective schools in NSW. We also work with third parties to grow awareness of the scholarship program, promoting the scholarships through the various Secondary Principal Associations, the Smith Family, State Education Departments and other not-for-profit organisations.
Our key message focused on finding students who meet ALL three of the criteria to ensure applicants were suitable for the Harding Miller Scholarships. Each year we assemble panels of principals, education experts, HMEF representatives and independent professionals to review all applications. Judging will be done in October with our moderation and board review done in November. Applicants for scholarships commencing the following year will be notified in early December.
Video for this article: https://youtu.be/k1xmdz7zm2M
It is National NAIDOC Week from 3 July – 10 July. NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The 2022 theme is ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’ The theme calls for genuine commitment from all of us to Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! We can do so by supporting institutional, structural, collaborative and cooperative reforms. It is also time to celebrate the many who have driven and led change in our communities over generations.
HMEF encourages all staff, students and our supporters to be champions of change and to celebrate the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We recognise the history and culture of the oldest living cultures on earth. Today, the Harding Miller Education Foundation supports 82 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls through our scholarships, and we have supported more than 130 First Nation students since we started in 2016. The scholarships are worth more than $20,000 and assist the students from Year 9 to Year 12 by providing resources and personalised support to help them overcome barriers and make the most of their scholarship and their education. These scholarships are provided to students who have high academic potential and are delivered so that the students can remain at their local public school, in their family home and with their community.
The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait community. Check out your school website or local council for events. In addition, local community events to celebrate NAIDOC week can also be found on the NAIDOC events website – www.naidoc.org.au/local-events/local-naidoc-week-events