GOAL-ORIENTED: QMEA award finalist and Pioneer State High School student Mahima Vyas.
GOAL-ORIENTED: QMEA award finalist and Pioneer State High School student Mahima Vyas. Emma Murray

Forging a career in the resources sector at just 16

A SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD Pioneer State High School student is one of two young women vying for a prestigious resources industry award.

Mahima Vyas was selected as a finalist in the QRC/WIMARQ resources awards for women category - exceptional female QMEA student of the year.

"The award recognises exceptional females within the QMEA. It is based on a reflection of leadership within their school and community, how they will or have advocated for other females and their interest and experience in the resource industry,” project manager for STEM education at Queensland Resources Council, Matthew Heskett, said.

The Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy is a partnership between the State Government and the Queensland Resources Council, which provides a way to recognise talent of work-ready employees for the resources sector and supporting STEM industries.

Mahima, who is vice-captain at Pioneer High - a QMEA school, said she would be seeking a career in chemical engineering upon graduation from university.

Engineering runs in her family. Her father is an electrical engineer at Hastings Deering and her older sister is studying electrical engineering at university.

Mahima nominated herself for the award with QMEA.

"I like to challenge myself and when life provides opportunities you either seize them or you lose them,” she said.

"I felt the opportunity would assist me in gaining more understanding of what the industry involves and enhancing the recognition of women in the resources sector.”

Miss Vyas said she felt quite overwhelmed when she first discovered she was named as a finalist. "It is an incredible honour. For me, the recognition felt motivating and acted as a confidence-booster,” she said.

Miss Vyas' physics teacher, Fred Houweling said that she was a hard worker and and highly motivated and the only female in the entire class.

"We are making great strides in encouraging girls to study STEM subjects. Mahima's physics class is arguably still male-dominated, but she always demonstrates tenacity and drive to lead conversations and investigations in class,” he said.

She said having inspirational teachers at school, played a key role in her success.

"Some of my teachers have influenced me greatly and devoted their time to assist me with my application for the award. "

"Their constant contribution to my learning and belief in me is what ignited my courage to persist and be positive throughout the nomination process,” Miss Vyas said.

Within the next ten years, Miss Vyas would like to see a positive change in perception about females in STEM and hopefully see a narrowing of the STEM gender gap within the industry.

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