Meet Jasper, the face of the RAAF’s new STEM engagement initiative

written by australianaviation.com.au | December 4, 2018
Screenshot from the Jasper animation.

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 and is the star of a new short animated video.

PhD researcher Simon Rippingale and a group of final-year UTS students developed the animation, using both traditional animation techniques and technology such as robotics and 3D printing.

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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, who voices the grown-up Jasper in the animation.

Jasper, in her own words

Hi, I’m Jasper and I’m on a critical mission. Do you want to join me?

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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.

Screenshot from the Jasper animation.

My mission

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:

See you in the sky!

Jasper x

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2 Comments

  • I have a Senior Check Captain friend who informs me, that the Female Pilots he has as First Officers, for most part, are more diligent and professional than a lot of Male Pilots, I’m guessing, that the reason being, that the odds are certainly not in their favour from the very beginning of their desire to fly, its sad that old systems still remain in the system, but bearing this in mind, Fly they most certainly will, if only to work harder in order to prove old systems won’t beat them, and I wish them all well in their efforts, well done Ladies, I salute you. (As one from the old school, its great to see).

  • Max

    says:

    As a former Air Force Cadets Instructor, some of the young ladies that came through were nothing short as fantastic, in many areas. Go for it ladies

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