cart Shopping Cart cart(0)


Email me when new posts are made to this blog

Podcast: National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP)

Written by Ben Newsome on June 19th, 2017.      0 comments

Listen to FizzicsEd on Apple Podcasts   FizzicsEd podcast available on Stitcher  Soundcloud logo

Meet A/Prof Joanne Jamie and Dr Emma Barnes, two university biochemists from Macquarie University who have created the incredibly successful National Indigenous Science Education Program, an initiative designed to place Indigenous youth in leadership positions so they gain the confidence, motivation and skills to stay in school and consider pathways to higher education. NISEP brings together Indigenous elders, school students and educators together via a series of in-school, community and university science events and at the time of the interview incorporates 13 high schools from low socioeconomic rural, regional and metro areas and 3 universities, and annually places around 150 Indigenous students in leadership roles.

About A/Prof Joanne Jamie

A/Prof Joanne Jamie
A/Prof Joanne Jamie (Photowrite)

Joanne is a bioorganic/medicinal chemistry academic in the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences at Macquarie University with over 20 years of experience in tertiary teaching, research and community science engagement. She is Co-Director of both the Indigenous Bioresources Research Group (IBRG) and the National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP). Her IBRG research activities include biological screening and isolation of medicinally important (bioactive) compounds from Australian Aboriginal 'bush' medicines and the preservation of cultural knowledge. Her teaching spans from first year to postgraduate studies with a focus on organic, biological and medicinal chemistry. She has also designed a unit, Engaging the Community in Science, that allows Macquarie students to increase science understanding in the wider community as well as promote higher education pathways. Joanne is particularly passionate in building in her students a lasting understanding and interest in science, especially chemistry, and through both her teaching and NISEP, in enhancing educational outcomes and showcasing the achievements of Indigenous youth within rural and regional communities.

About Dr Emma Barnes

Dr Emma Barnes  standing in front of a tree with the city horizon in the background
Dr Emma Barnes from the National Indigenous Science Education Program

Emma is a natural products chemist within the Indigenous Bioresources Research Group (IBRG) and the program manager for the National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP), both based at Macquarie University, Sydney. The IBRG works in collaboration with Indigenous groups to preserve traditional knowledge, investigate the bioactivity and chemical constituents of medicinal plants, and provide capability strengthening strategies for Indigenous communities. NISEP, meanwhile, places Indigenous secondary students in leadership roles so they gain the confidence, life skills and aspirations to finish school and consider pathways to both higher education and STEM based careers. In particular NISEP works with youth from low socioeconomic and rural/regional areas. Being from a rural area herself and having had to move from home to complete a PhD at Griffith University, Brisbane, and a postdoctoral position in Jena, Germany, Emma is passionate about encouraging rural kids to have the confidence to pursue education and positive employment pathways that allow them to do the things they love.

Top 3 learnings

  • Hasten slowly. Whilst it can be tempting to scale an education project quickly when you get a few wins, growing your project too fast too early can put a strain on your resources that could endanger the viability of a fledgling program.
  • Connect the dots! There are many interest groups in education and not all of them are in a school setting. By listening to community needs Joanne and Emma were able to setup an educational program that brought together Indigenous elders, University researchers, schools and other education partners into one collaborative effort that could help youth.
  • Don’t underestimate your impact. During this interview Joanne recounted a story where she recognised one of her tertiary students as being one of the same students who had been through the NISEP program during high school.

About the FizzicsEd Podcast

With interviews with leading science educators and STEM thought leaders, this science education podcast is about highlighting different ways of teaching kids within and beyond the classroom. It's not just about educational practice & pedagogy, it's about inspiring new ideas & challenging conventions of how students can learn about their world!

Know an educator who'd love this episode? Share it!

If something grabbed your attention in this STEM podcast please leave your thoughts below

Happy teaching

Ben Newsome
Find out more about the author


NEW Primary science teaching book

Be Amazing; How to teach science, the way primary kids love

Be Amazing; How to teach science, the way primary kids love!

Read more; orange arrow

Join our newsletter for more science teaching thoughts & ideas

Join the Fizzics Newsletter

More science education posts
>100 free science experiments on this site!
Podcast - culture, language and risk in STEM lessons
Podcast - culture, language
and risk in STEM lessons
10 tips for new sciecnce teachers
10 tips for new
science teachers
Teacher toolbox for STEM teaching
Teacher toolbox
for STEM teaching 



Be Amazing Book Front Cover; Ben Newsome, teacher & founder of Fizzics Education. Be Amazing -how to teach science the way primary kids love
Be Amazing!
How to teach science, the way primary kids love

Read more about Be Amazing

Want more science? Subscribe to the FizzicsEd podcast!

Listen to FizzicsEd on Apple Podcasts logo

FizzicsEd podcast available on Stitcher

Australian Small Business Champion for Educational Servicestop 100 coolest company CILC Pinnacle AwardAustralian Science Teachers Association PwC 21CM-Initiative

Love Science?

Signup to our fortnightly email! Learn more

Contact us

1300 856 828

Unit 10/55 Fourth Ave
Blacktown, NSW 2148, Australia
facebook-icon Apple Podcast Icon  twitter-icon
linkedin-icon youtube-icon   pinterest-icon