As part of its strategy to engage more girls and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-based subjects and career paths, the RAAF has launched a new initiative based around a character named Jasper.
Jasper was created in a partnership between Air Force Plan Jericho and UTS Animal Logic Academy.
Simon Rippingale (PhD researcher) and a group of final-year students developed the animation, using both traditional animation techniques and technology such as robotics and 3D printing. The project was also made possible with the support of the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building and the Faculty of Engineering and IT at UTS.
Jasper’s character is based on Squadron Leader Jacqueline Killian. She is also the voice of grown up Jasper in the animation.
Hi, I’m Jasper and I’m on a critical mission. Do you want to join me?
First, let me tell you a bit about me… I’ve wanted to be able to fly for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I studied the birds soaring overhead. My dreams were filled with clouds, paper aeroplanes and ingenious flying machines.
By the time I was 12, I’d decided I wanted to be an astronaut. I buried my head in books about space and was desperate to get up there and explore the unknown.
Science was always my favourite subject at school and luckily I had an awesome Physics teacher, Mr Tilley. He saw my passion and potential and continued to motivate me with his inspirational lessons. He was in the Army Reserves and encouraged me to achieve my dream to fly.
Reaching my goal wasn’t always smooth flying… there were times when I struggled with confidence and doubted my ability to pass exams and get through courses.
But my parents told me: “If you work for it, you can get there” so I kept my eyes on the target and I worked really, really hard.
I’ll never forget the first time I flew for real. I was so nervous, I had butterflies flying their own frenzied path in my stomach, but once I took off, it was the greatest feeling in the world. I was up in the clouds above the birds where I belonged.
I knew right then that this was what I was meant to do.
But back to my critical mission… I was really troubled when I heard that lots of girls are unsupported in and even discouraged from studying subjects like Science, Tech, Engineering and Maths (STEM) at school, and that very few go on to take them at University. Can you believe that only 16% of graduates in these subjects are female? That’s shocking!
The problem is that the knowledge and skills these STEM subjects provide are critical for many of the coolest jobs out there. If you want to be an astronaut, design a death-defying roller-coaster or be an Air Combat Officer in the Air Force like me, you’ll need qualifications in these subjects.
So it’s my mission to support girls to reach for the stars, defy gravity and achieve their goals.
And I have some powerhouses on my team to help me including: Jericho (the Air Force’s program to create the force of the future); the Defence Science Institute; Defence, Science and Technology Group and RMIT University. Together we’ve created the Air4Life program designed to support YOU on YOUR journey to achieve YOUR dreams.
If you would like to explore STEM opportunities in the Air Force, check out these links for our:
- Work experience program
- Air Force Cadets program
- Defence Force Recruitment STEM opportunities
- Or find out how you can Do what you love in the Australian Defence Force.
See you in the sky!