A space technologist, neuroscientist and marine ecologist are among 60 outstanding women in science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) who have been named as the newest Superstars of STEM.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the Superstars of STEM program plays a vital role in raising the profile of remarkable women across a broad range of STEM fields.
“This program upends the adage ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ by increasing the visibility of women in STEM and encouraging girls and young women to aspire to an exciting STEM career,” Minister Andrews said.
“With STEM skills crucial to driving innovation and playing a significant role in preparing people for the jobs of the future, it’s essential that all Australians have the opportunity to participate in these fields.
“Gender equity in STEM is a key focus of the Morrison Government and we’re taking action to support women in STEM careers and provide diverse STEM role models to inspire the next generation.
“Since this program began in 2017, its participants have reached more than 30 million people through media and grassroots activities, including connecting with more than 15,000 school children across all states and territories.”
Sharing their passion for STEM
Run by Science and Technology Australia (STA), the program supports and upskills women working in the sector to communicate with influence and share their passion for STEM with the Australian community.
The latest list includes Dr Steph Gardner, a microbial ecologist from UNSW Science.
Dr Gardner studies the role of bacteria in marine organisms like corals and algae. Her research explores how these microbes influence health and function in both tropical and temperate reef ecosystems. As an ocean advocate, her goal is to raise awareness of the problems facing our reef ecosystems to safeguard them into the future.
Dr Gardner said she is honoured and excited to be selected for the program.
“Science improves our knowledge and understanding of the world we live in, and human progress throughout history has largely come from advances in science,” she said. “However, as scientists, we need to effectively communicate the work we do to make a real difference to the world around us.
“I look forward to helping close the gender gap in STEM throughout my career and hope to use this opportunity to elevate women’s representation across the media and in our workplace, to create a more level playing field.”
Under-representation of women and girls in STEM
STA CEO Misha Schubert said the program was a game changer to help tackle the under-representation of women and girls in STEM.
“What does a scientist, an engineer, or a mathematician look like? We know they can look like absolutely anyone – and through the Superstars of STEM, we’re spreading that knowledge and smashing stereotypes about who can work in STEM,” Ms Schubert said.
“With the announcement of this cohort, we will have 150 exceptional women trained as influential and inspirational role models in STEM. We’re extremely grateful to the Australian Government for their critical support of this trailblazing program.”
The Superstars of STEM program was established through the Australian Government’s Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship grants program in 2016. An additional $1.3 million in funding was provided to continue and expand the program in 2018.
For more information on the Superstars of STEM visit: https://scienceandtechnologyaustralia.org.au/what-we-do/superstars-of-stem/.