Balancing the equation: Natasha’s inspiration for the future of STEM

Natasha Milne, student science teacher
I really love the VU Block Model. I’ve maintained a high distinction average thanks to the smaller class sizes, supportive lecturers and single-unit focus.

Natasha Milner
Bachelor of Science, Master of Teaching (Secondary Education)

With her love of science and maths, Natasha Milner is encouraging future generations to join the creative and in-demand STEM disciplines. Having completed her Bachelor of Science at VU, Natasha is now studying the Master of Teaching (Secondary) and attributes her study success and work–life balance to VU’s focus on practical learning, its supportive environment and the VU Block Model.

Motivated to make a difference

“My high school maths and science teachers had a really positive influence on me. They said I had a unique way of explaining concepts to my peers which, in hindsight, was the start of my teaching journey.

I can understand why girls lose interest in STEM. In Year 10, I called two engineering firms to ask about work experience, and was told there were no spots available. When male classmates secured placements after my failed attempts, it made me even more determined. Girls often believe the misconception these industries are dominated by men and that they must work harder than their male counterparts to achieve the same level of expertise.

When I become a teacher, I intend to instil greater self-confidence in female students and help balance the equation.”

Why Natasha chose VU

“Attending VU Open Day, I immediately felt comfortable. Lecturer Domenico Caridi advised that I could study my specialist areas with the Bachelor of Science and then a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education) to become a maths and science teacher.

I applied through VU’s early entry offer program – now called VU Guaranteed. It guaranteed my place before I sat my Year 12 exams, alleviating a lot of stress. My friends commented on my laid-back attitude!

VU has an emphasis on practical learning early on. First-year students at other unis wouldn’t usually get to touch expensive equipment, but all my chemistry and biology classes involved hands-on learning.

I’ve used the Learning Hub’s support services like presentations workshops, which helped my work stand out. I also sought financial advice with managing my budget; it helped put me in control.”

Block Model leads to life balance & study success

“I really love the VU Block Model. I’ve maintained a high-distinction average thanks to the smaller class sizes, supportive lecturers and single-unit focus. I’ve been able to continue working three jobs to support myself, and joined the student ambassador and VU Vollies (volunteer) teams.

When we moved to online learning in 2020, it was so much easier with the Block Model. Although I miss in-person interactions, I’ve thrived in lockdown.

During my masters, I’ve made great connections already thanks to VU’s commitment to placements. Even during the pandemic I’ve been able to gain extensive teaching experience in Bendigo, in regional Victoria.”

Want to inspire the next generation like Natasha?