University of Newcastle researchers recognised as Superstars of STEM

University of Newcastle researchers recognised as Superstars of STEM

Australia’s newest Superstars of STEM – 60 brilliant women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics who want to step into the spotlight as experts in their fields –was announced earlier this month.

The new Superstars reflects the strong diversity of women in STEM – including three Indigenous scientists and engineers, and a record number of Superstars from South Australia and the ACT.

Among the list of Superstars announced were University of Newcastle Researchers, Dr Jessica Allen and Dr Hannah Power.

Science & Technology Australia Chief Executive Officer, Misha Schubert said the program gave women in STEM the skills and confidence to step into expert commentary roles in the media.

“It’s hard to be what you can’t see. Women are still seriously under-represented in STEM – especially at the senior leadership levels,” she said.

“The Superstars of STEM program sets out to smash stereotypes of what a scientist, technologist, engineer or mathematician look like – these powerful role models show girls that STEM is for them.

“We thank the Australian Government for its strong support of this important program, which is already having a profound impact.

“Sustaining this type of program for the long-term is more important than ever amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in the STEM workforce.”

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews said this program provides an opportunity for females to rise to the top in STEM industries and be acknowledged for their contributions.

“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,” she 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 doing the program, current Superstar Dr Kudzai Kanhutu has become a regular on ABC’s The Drum, regularly sharing her expertise in frontline health challenges, technology and current affairs.

Another current Superstar, Dr Kate Cole generated front-page media in May that led to a ban on hundreds on unsafe masks, protecting frontline healthcare workers and the Australian public.

“There is no way I would have spoken to the media before the Superstars of STEM program, and if I hadn’t done that, more than 600 questionable masks would still be on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods,” Kate said.

Supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and

Resources, these next 60 Superstars of STEM will participate in the program in 2021 and 2022.

The program is also supported by the Australian Science Media Centre, The Conversation and STEM Matters.

IMAGE | Dr Jessica Allen, one of the Superstars of STEM announced from the University of Newcastle.

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