Refraction Media launch STEM Equity Evaluation for Careers with STEM

April 27, 2023

Careers with STEM program evaluation launches showing platform plays an important part in encouraging young people to pursue courses and careers in STEM.

Refraction Media, founders of, have today launched the evaluation of, a hub for careers advisors, teachers and students on the Women in STEM Ambassador’s STEM Equity Portal.

Careers with STEM is a multi-platform student-focussed careers hub that aims to inspire more young Australians to pursue courses and careers with science, technology, engineering or maths. It includes a free quarterly magazine, website, videos and quizzes. Since 2014 it has provided students with hundreds of diverse, real-life STEM role models, and challenges stereotypes around what STEM jobs look like and who works in STEM.

Careers with STEM’s secret formula is STEM + X – where ‘X’ is a student’s passion, an interest, another subject, a big opportunity or life-changing goal. On the Careers with STEM website, students can search for role models and stories by STEM, or their ‘X’: such as animals, business, creativity, crime and justice, cyber security, defence, design and construction, economics, education, environment, fashion and beauty, food and agriculture and more.

Since launching the site, Refraction Media have distributed over 2 million free magazines and each year reach over 200,000 unique users, 70.5% of whom are high school students (50.1%), uni students and VET students. 16.7% of website readers are teachers.

Careers with STEM’s evaluation report is available to read here.

The STEM Equity Evaluation Portal (the Portal) is a product of the Office of Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador (the Office). Led by Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, the Office mobilises Australia’s business leaders, educators, parents and carers, and policymakers to remove barriers to the participation of girls, women, non-binary and other marginalised groups in STEM.

The Office developed the Portal in response to recommendations from the Women in STEM Decadal Plan for a standardised national evaluation framework that guides evaluation efforts across all existing and future STEM equity initiatives in Australia.

The program evaluation found students are exposed to Careers with STEM through one-on-one interviews with careers advisors, in-class activities with educators and through live events and webinars held during school hours. The magazines are made available via the careers office and the library, as well as through Digital Technologies classes. Career advisors link to the digital products in careers newsletters to parents.

“Through our analytics, direct engagement, email conversions and user feedback we are able to ascertain we are also reaching our secondary target audience of educators in schools and classrooms,” says co-founder and head of content, Heather Catchpole.

“16.7% of the digital audience are educators. Many print materials have a long life in schools, and while events and webinars are a transitory experience, through weekly emails, daily socials and articles, we have an ongoing and continued reach into schools. This is a critical communication approach where staff numbers can be low, teacher turnover high, and new students are entering the school system,” says Catchpole.

“Educator feedback shows that over 95% agree that Careers with STEM helps showcase diversity in STEM careers, keeps educators up-to-date with STEM careers and employers, is easy to read and is an important part of encouraging young people to pursue courses and careers in STEM,” says co-founder Karen Taylor-Brown.

Catchpole and Taylor-Brown started Careers with STEM in 2014 with founding partner Google in response to low enrollments by women in computer science education in Australia. Australia faces a massive challenge in building the technology workforce needed for the future. 1.3 million tech workers will be required by 2030. Employment in STEM occupations in Australia will grow by 12.9% by 2025. However, only 22% of high school students (and 8% of females) are choosing STEM degrees or courses.

“Careers with STEM has over 200 industry and tertiarty partners and we look forward to continuing to provide tools for under-resourced careers advisors to connect the STEM students study in schools with the careers of tomorrow,” says Taylor-Brown.

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