The It Takes a Spark! STEM Conference inspires and engages forward thinking students, teachers and leaders in STEAM.

Founded by engineer, education consultant and author, Dr Adrian Bertolini and event specialist, Rachel Manneke-Jones in 2017, the Conference has directly and positively impacted over 6750 educators and students through their attendance.

The event format provides a unique opportunity for Teachers to engage in hands-on professional learning with the option of attending with Students.

In 2024 Conferences will take place in Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. This year’s Conference themes include:

  • STEAM – Empowering leaders for a changing world (QLD)
  • STEM – Making and shaping the future (WA)
  • STEAM – Inspiring collaborative and innovative teams, change-makers and problem solvers (VIC)
  • STEAM – Creating and shaping a thriving future (TAS)

Find out more about our 2024 events



How the event works

The program is different to many conferences namely it is intended for both Teachers and Students to attend. This parallel learning experience facilitates shared knowledge and collaboration between Teachers and their Students.

Over the course of the day educators and students will attend a variety of sessions together including, a Digi-Design Mini Workshop, a Problem Solvers Design Challenge and Keynote Speaker Presentations. Teachers also have the option to attend Teacher only Mini Masterclasses and networking sessions.

The brightest educators and students who are passionate about STEM and key organisations will lead the action-packed sessions. Attendees will also have the opportunity to explore the STEAM Expo and discover the latest technologies and resources.

Why Attend

Take the opportunity to be part of Australia’s leading STEM events and…

  • Hear from experts in the STEM field
  • Engage in innovative, hands-on STEM learning alongside your students
  • Discover the latest developments, innovations, tips and tools in STEM from experts and practitioners.
  • See live demonstrations and receive resources, tools and tips to implement back in the classroom
  • Network and collaborate with other schools, educators and industry experts and get insight into their STEM activities and programs
  • Earn professional development hours



Head of Projects and Analytics
Grok Academy

Karsten holds a PhD in Computer Science and a Bachelor in Electrical Engineering with a focus on Software Engineering. In 2010, Karsten created the Young ICT Explorers Competition and, in 2014, whilst working for NICTA (now part of CSIRO), he founded the Bebras Australia Computational Thinking Challenge, which is part of the International Bebras Challenge with over 2.9 million participants annually. Karsten is a former track and field athlete, who competed at German national youth level in long jump.

Karsten has been working in the Australian ICT and Digital Technologies space since 1999 in an international R&D leadership position. He has designed a computer processor, builds artificial neural networks, has 18 patents in his name and has a passion for data, process flow and artificial intelligence.


Marine Scientist, University of the Sunshine Coast
Superstar of STEM

Can we save the world with seaweeds? Dr Alexandra Campbell is working hard to find out.

As a key member and co-founder of the USC Seaweed Research Group, Alex leads projects that are investigating how seaweeds can restore damaged ecosystems, improve food production and enhance human health.

She was a founder of ‘Operation Crayweed’, which restores underwater seaweed forests along Sydney’s coastline, won a ‘Green Globe’ award and was a Eureka Prize finalist (2017). Alex is a Churchill Fellow (2014), a Young Tall Poppy (2012), a busy mother of twins (always) and a passionate advocate for Women in STEM (forever).


Associate Professor and Director, DNA Zoo Australia, The University of Western Australia

Dr Parwinder Kaur is an award-winning scientist, a passionate leader and positive role model as a mother, and a professor in science for the next generation of diverse scientists to pursue their passion for science and discovery. She leads cross-disciplinary biotechnology research investigating Earth’s biodiversity and natural environments to ensure sustainable futures. Through her diverse research teams, such as DNA Zoo Australia, she harnesses STEM to achieve maximised impact. In doing so, she believes this will help us tackle the bigger issues we as society are facing, bringing about solutions through fresh thinking rather than following usual norms.

Her noteworthy achievements include receiving the prestigious ‘Science and Innovation Award’ from the Australian Academy of Sciences in 2013, winning Microsoft’s AI for Earth award in 2019, being recognised as a finalist for WA Innovator of the Year in 2022, and earning the esteemed Australian Sikh Woman of the Year for Excellence in 2023. She has also been inducted into the WA Women Hall of Fame in 2023, is a Superstar of STEM, a winner of Women in Technology WA Tech+ Star in 2022, the recipient of the AmCham Alliance Award in Biotechnology in 2023, a finalist for Trend Setter of the Year, and an ambassador for GirlsXTech internationally.


Astrophysicist and Superstar of STEM,
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
Curtin University

Dr Adelle Goodwin is an astrophysicist at the International Centre for Radio Research. Her career pathway was forged by a love of reading, understanding why things behave the way they do, and a deep curiosity about space (like do black holes really devour everything in their path?).

When you look up at the night sky, there are billions of stars twinkling, but, what happens when these stars die? Adelle’s research looks at the objects we don’t see: the dense remnants of dead stars called black holes and neutron stars.

It Takes a Spark STEM Conference
Sponsors and Partners

Thank you to our 2024 sponsors and partners



Rachel Manneke-Jones

Registration & Bookings
Ph: 0411 270 277

Dr Adrian Bertolini

Conference Co-Ordinator
Ph: 0413 036 382

Stay Connected

Facebook: @SparkEDUConferences
LinkedIn: spark-educonferences

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