As a child, I loved watching lizards: the way they move, and how they enjoy the sun. One day I noticed that Žika, that was my lizard’s name, had lost its tail. I was sad for days, I thought it hurt a lot. However, as if by some magic, Žika’s tail grew back. Then I wished that the same thing could happen to people. However, since it can’t be, I choose a profession in which I can help people with such difficulties. I also use computers and science, especially medicine. I enjoy drawing, making, crafting, and programming, and without me, life would be very bad for people who were left without a part of their body.
Who is this person? What’s her job? Can you guess? She is a bio-robotician! And her story was one of many told in the small school of Inđija during a day dedicated to STEAM careers.
This one-day workshop saw a group of seven students attending 3rd grade in the rural satellite school visiting their main school in downtown Inđija and telling eighth-graders about future careers. In Serbia, students in 8th grade are supposed to choose future secondary schools. Their interest in exploring different career paths is therefore very high.
The youngest students were dressed up in costumes and acted in line with their roles. They presented themselves through a short story. 13-years-old students were then asked to guess their profession with yes or no additional questions. After the person’s profession was revealed, students would start a conversation about successful people in those professions, with the special stress on female role models. Many heard for the first time in their lives about Petra Kelly, Rita Levi-Montalcini, Jelisaveta Načić, Marissa Ann Mayer, and many others. It was fruitful for all students to explore ideas about careers through storytelling, role play, and play in general.
Laughter, excitement, surprise, and overall joy coloured the atmosphere of this event. Students were saying “I didn’t know professions can be combined in such a crazy way!”, “We never heard about these women before.”, “Wow, being an engineer doesn’t have to be boring!” School counsellor Tijana Đuričić and class teacher Jelena Živković developed the idea of this workshop and after it was finished they agreed that intergenerational collaboration in career counselling is very important and meaningful for students. It truly helps to bring relevance but also a lighter approach to the rather complex and emotional topic.