Karlie Noon didn’t think a science degree was for her until her second year at the University of Newcastle, when she switched from arts to a degree in science and maths, and found the perfect fit.
In 2016, Karlie became the first Indigenous student in NSW to get a double degree in science and maths, and is now a passionate advocate for STEM. She’s keen to change the perceptions that she herself once held.
“Just because maths sucked at school, doesn’t mean it actually sucks!” she says.
Now a research assistant at CSIRO, Karlie is looking at Indigenous weather predictions and applying a Western science approach to Indigenous knowledge to “explore how traditional, holistic methods are supported and explained through physics and meteorological systems”.
“Indigenous people have been looking at the stars and sky for thousands of years,” says Karlie. “I’m lucky to have exposure to both knowledge systems, which I see as contrasting but complementary,” she says.
Karlie says she is living proof that “you don’t have to be a typical straight-A student to do what you want to do”. For her, a career in STEM was written in the stars.
– Rachael Oku
Karlie’s path to becoming a research assistant at CSIRO
>> Started a Bachelor of Arts, University of Newcastle
>> Switched to a Science degree in her second year, University of Newcastle
>> Research assistant, CSIRO