Searching for the next Superstars of STEM

 

SS of STEM launch.jpg
Caption: Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, CEO of STA, Kylie Walker and Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash at Melrose High School, ACT
Photo source: Science and Technology Australia

 

Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Science & Technology Australia (STA) and a group of extraordinary women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have launched the next round of Superstars of STEM at Melrose High School in the ACT.

The world-leading program is working to address a significant gender gap in STEM-related media coverage: fewer than 20 per cent of quotes about science in the media are attributed to women.

STA President, Professor Emma Johnston AO, said Superstars of STEM has achieved a significant level of coverage for the first women to go through the program.

“In the first 12 months, our inaugural 30 Superstars of STEM reached more than 11,000 high school students through face-to-face presentations at schools, and were featured in more than 600 prominent news stories across Australia,” Professor Johnston said.

She said the sector was working hard to change the gender stereotypes of STEM professionals.

“Before we started the program, we knew that when Australians thought of a scientist, they usually thought of a white-haired man in a lab coat,” Professor Johnston said.

“In the media and on stage, our Superstars of STEM are living examples of impressive and capable women who work on farms and in robotics labs, write code, develop cutting edge medicine, predict natural disasters, dig at archaeological sites, and so much more.”

Initially funded by a Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) grant, the Government is providing funding for the second phase of Superstars of STEM, to continue inspiring girls and women around the nation to pursue STEM studies and careers. This will double the number of women participating in each cohort to 60 participants and extend the program for another four years.

CEO of STA, Kylie Walker said STA has a particular focus on encouraging women from under-represented groups to apply.

“We particularly welcome women working in underrepresented disciplines such as IT, geoscience or maths, as well as members of minority groups, including women from the LGBTQI+ and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” she said.

“STA firmly believes that science and technology can only be strengthened by embracing a diversity of experiences and perspectives. We’re keen for the Superstars of STEM program to reflect those values.”

Applications open today, and close at midnight on 23 September 2018. Successful candidates will be named in December 2018, and will commence as Superstars of STEM in January 2019.

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