SKY'S THE LIMIT: Dr Jillian Kenny flies home to Gayndah in a fighter jet to inspire students alongside engineer Felicity Furey, engineer and inventor Steve Gale and Willie
SKY'S THE LIMIT: Dr Jillian Kenny flies home to Gayndah in a fighter jet to inspire students alongside engineer Felicity Furey, engineer and inventor Steve Gale and Willie "Godfather" Chew, former flight instructor for the Republic of Singapore Air Force. Felicity Ripper

The sky is the limit for small town students

DURING his time as a university lecturer, Steve Gale would teach a theatre of 200 students and he remembers no more than five of them being females, most often sitting in the back row.

Throughout his career as an electronics engineer and a pilot, he has found a similar narrative - very few women.

Mr Gale has endeavoured to change this by teaming with successful women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to inspire young people into these industries.

"We're trying to get a proposal for a television series where myself and a friend will instruct these women to become pilots themselves,” Mr Gale said.

"It's actually a TV series, not only about flying, about women in science.

"So they will be the lead-in to introduce the audience to other influential women in STEM professions.”

Dr Jillian Kenny is one of the successful professionals who Mr Gale is teaching to fly.

She grew up in Gayndah, and this week she flew home in a fighter jet alongside fellow engineer and student pilot Felicity Furey, Mr Gale, and former flight instructor for the Republic of Singapore Air Force, Willie Chew.

The pilots took to the air before the team delivered a speech and students got the opportunity to sit in the Marchetti S211 fighter jets, privately owned by Mr Gale.

The film crew captured it all.

"To be able to come home and inspire students in my home town isn't a dream come true, it's something I could never have even dreamed about,” Dr Kenny said.

"To think a young Gayndah student, just like I was, could be sitting in that crowd and be inspired into a STEM career is incredible.

"The sky is the limit, even for a girl from a small town in country Queensland.”

Dr Kenny and Mrs Furey co-founded the not-for-profit organisation Power of Engineering, which aims to change students' minds about engineering.

Mrs Furey said she jumped for joy when she first received the offer to learn to fly.

The team set off back home to Melbourne this afternoon where they will continue to film for the proposed series.


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