For many parliamentarians, the last time they learned about science and technology was in their distant school days.
Seventeen senators and members of the House of Representatives have put up their hands to be part of a buddy system of sorts, each paired with a professional from various fields in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
The STEM professionals will get some training and then meet with their partners at least four times over the year, with the view of creating a long-term, two-way relationship.
Technology consultant Maddie Holly will be paired with member for Bean, David Smith, as part of the Science and Technology Australia STEM Ambassadors scheme.
"STEM is a field that is just rapidly changing every day it's very difficult to keep on top of, just as someone who's already working in industry," Ms Holly said.
"For someone that is needing to be informed by evidence to make their policies that can be something that's very difficult to keep up on top of as well as meet all your other obligations. So I think this is a really awesome way to just facilitate that connection for someone who's already extremely busy."
During the past year policymakers have had to lean heavily on the advice of scientists to cope with natural disasters from the Black Summer bushfires to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nationals Senator Perin Davey, independent Senator Rex Patrick and deputy opposition leader Richard Marles are among the parliamentarians who have opted in to the program.
From the 17 politicians, six are from the Labor party, seven are from the Coalition, two are Greens and one is independent.
Ms Holly, who recently graduated with a double degree in engineering (honours) and economics at the Australian National University, said she was keen to share her expertise with Mr Smith as well as learn about parliament.
"My background is in electronic and communication systems, so I'd be very interested in seeing if he has any interest in those areas, whether it's power electronics or wireless technologies."
Ms Holly is passionate about supporting diversity in STEM and led a student organisation called Fifty50 while at ANU.
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