Looking for a STEM role model? Our top 5 of 2021

Kimberly Valenny - STEM role models
Kimberly Valenny, our top profilee of 2021, speaking at the Women in STEM Industry Night

We’ve chatted to hundreds of STEM professionals who are doing incredible things in science, tech, engineering and maths.

They share their stories and advice to help and inspire anyone wanting to follow in their footsteps. Head to our STEM role models section to soak up everything they have to say. It’s seriously career advice gold.

Below, we’ve rounded up the top five STEM role models on Careers with STEM in 2021.

1. Kimberly Valenny, president of Women in Tech at QUT

Kimberley Valenny is in her fourth and final year at QUT in Brisbane, studying a double degree in Information Technology and Creative Industries. She is also the president of the Women in Technology (WIT) student club, which welcomes anyone with a common aim to unite, inspire and empower women studying and pursuing all sorts of tech fields.

And when she’s not at uni? Kimberly works at Code Camp, teaching primary school students how to create their own games using drag-and-drop coding.

Read her full profile here.

2. Vanessa Pirotta, marine biologist

Working with whale snot is not something you stumble into. Vanessa Pirotta is a PhD candidate at Macquarie University and recent FameLab Australia finalist. It’s taken a Science degree, a Master’s degree, and a part-time job at a zoo to study marine biology and realise her dream of working with marine animals.

Find out more about the whale snot, and check out her STEM study and career journey, here.

3. Christine Vinaviles, cyber security graduate

Christine Vinaviles - STEM role models

Software engineer Christine Vinaviles has gone from tinkering and typing at her mum’s work, to keeping CBA banking staff and customers safe from cyber attacks!

Christine is keen for everyone to know that there are plenty of opportunities in STEM, and “no one should be afraid to throw yourself in the deep end… that’s when you grow the most. There are also lots of other people in the same boat as you so don’t be afraid to reach out”

Be inspired by her STEM story here.

4. Veronica Corinaldi, pavement engineer

Veronica Corinaldi works at engineering consultancy, GHD, as a pavement engineer on infrastructure projects around Australia.

“I assist in the pavement design process from start to finish. This includes desktop studies, geotechnical and pavement investigation, analysis of data, reporting and providing consulting services to the client,” she explains.

Read more about her STEM journey, that had her move from Italy to Australia, here.

5. Pat Hwang

Pat Hwang - STEM role models

Pat Hwang combined his love of tech with his passion for design, and is now a product designer at Atlassian.

In his current role, Pat designs User Experiences (UX), User Interfaces (UI) and new features for software products to ensure that it’s super useful and intuitive for their customers.

“My job is a blend of technical problem solving, visual design, and talking to and understanding people. Some of my common tasks include conducting customer research, running workshops, creating paper sketches, designing UI prototypes on Figma, and collaborating with software engineers, product managers and other designers.”

Discover more about his awesome tech career here.

Louise Meers

Author: Louise Meers

Louise is the production editor for Careers with STEM. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals and build a better future.


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