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Our top 10 STEM role models of 2023

Candice Bowditch - STEM role models

We added 67 new role models to our website this year!

And we’ve rounded up this year’s 10 most-read profiles on CareerswithSTEM.com. We’ve profiled STEM role models in all kinds of cool areas, and our top 10 really reflects the broad range of industries STEM study can lead you to. Think: cyber security, software engineering, genetics, space, mechanical engineering and more.

We can’t wait to bring you more inspo in 2024.

Meet the role models…

10. Asli Yoruk, data scientist

Asli Yoruk - Data Scientist at Commonwealth Bank
Asli Yoruk

Asli is a data scientist for Commonwealth Bank. A typical day on the job involves data analysis and visualisation, data processing, data modelling and researching.

“I find patterns in data and find insights,” she explains. “It’s interesting because when there’s too much data we miss all the valuable detail and get lost in it. Bringing insight helps people understand what’s going on.”

Read Asli’s full profile here.

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9. Melinda Jeffrey, engineering trades teacher

Melinda Jeffrey

Melinda wasn’t keen on uni so she chose a vocational pathway and became a star apprentice instead. In 2014, she was named Australian Apprentice of the Year at the Australian Training Awards.

As her career progressed, Melinda says she wanted to do more to mentor and teach new apprentices coming into the trade, but that wasn’t always feasible on the job.

“Then I got a call from one of my teachers at TAFE and they said: ‘How would you like to try your hand at teaching?’ And I said: ‘Yeah, let’s give it a try’,” she recalls.

“I started off as a casual, just doing night classes. And after I did that for six months, I realised I loved it.”

Read Melinda’s full profile here.

8. James Schifferle, software engineer

Science careers
James Schifferle

An interest in computers and electronics led James to take a vocational education and training (VET) course and school-based apprenticeship, working in his school’s IT department. It not only counted towards his final grades, it also helped in other ways.

“I feel that my apprenticeship gave me a headstart on the coursework – lots of my first year studies were things I had already learnt through my certificate III or experienced through work in the IT department.”

Another advantage came later when scholarship, internship and work opportunities became available. Now as a software engineer for Aussie Broadband, James loves being hands-on and writing code every day.

Read James’ full profile here.

7. Abby Hutchins, graduate mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineer

From working on giant dam projects like Sydney’s Warragamba, to visiting mega pipelines measuring more than two metres wide, graduate mechanical engineer Abby loves that no one project is the same as the next in her gig at global engineering firm WSP.

“It’s never repetitive. You are always looking at a new problem and there’s always a different type of solution to it, which honestly, that’s the part I enjoy the most,” Abby says.

Read Abby’s full profile here.

6. Lachlan Butler, metal fabricator

Lachlan studied a Certificate III in Engineering (Fabrication Trade)
Lachlan Butler

Lachlan studied a Certificate III in Engineering (Fabrication Trade) then scored a gig as a metal fabricator at BOSS Agriculture after proving himself invaluable during his apprenticeship there. Now, he spends his weekdays working with steel to produce agricultural machinery such as air seeders for farms, which requires him to be practical, mathematical and creative.

“The idea of both creativity and problem-solving excites me,” he says of his role. “I get to experience such a variety of  different work in such a positive workplace!”

Read Lachlan’s full profile here.

5. Daniella Kurnia Surya, cyber security intern

Daniella Kurnia Surya

Daniella kickstarted her tertiary studies with a certificate III, IV and advanced diploma of cyber security from South Metropolitan TAFE. And now? She’s currently completing a Bachelor of Science (Cyber Security) at Edith Cowan University. 

She is also about to start a cyber security internship at the WA Department of the Premier and Cabinet. The team she’ll be a part of monitors and defends against cyber criminals and ensures organisations’ compliance with relevant cyber security standards and regulations. 

Read Daniella’s full profile here.

4. Aasta Kelly, research genetic counsellor

ECU
Aasta Kelly

Aasta has two genetic counselling jobs, both of which she loves. As a research genetic counsellor and project officer at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in Perth, she talks to families about suspected genetic conditions, takes medical histories, explains DNA and genetics to them and discusses testing options.

Her other role is as a clinical genetic counsellor for Virtus Diagnostics, an Australian IVF and genetics company. In this job, she talks to people considering using donor eggs or sperm, and couples wanting to know whether they are at risk of passing on a serious genetic condition.

Read Aasta’s full profile here.

3. Brenan Dew, Space Discovery Centre manager

Macquarie University
Brenan Dew

As manager of the Australian Space Agency’s Australian Space Discovery Centre, Brenan helps young people to see the variety of careers in this sector. “Yes, there’s astronaut and aerospace engineer, but there are careers in other areas too like space medicine and space law,” he says.

Brenan leads a team of 25 people at the hands-on, interactive centre where visitors learn about people working in space and the industries surrounding it.

Following a passion is his top advice. “It will often lead to a niche or specialisation in a field, putting you ahead of others,” he says.

Read Brenan’s full profile here.

2. Anna Truffet, software engineer

Anna Truffet

As a software engineer for Google, Anna automates verifying people and organisations’ identities to help prevent money laundering and keep Google users safe. “It’s my team’s job to make sure our users are who they say they are,” she says. 

A typical day for Anna starts by collecting feedback from users. She then takes this information to product managers and her team to identify what work they should implement. With her team, she designs, builds and tests the solution, then ships it to the users and confirms that it meets their needs.

Read Anna’s full profile here

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1. Candice Bowditch, security engineer

Candice - Security Engineer Google
Candice Bowditch

Candice is a proud Indigenous Australian woman: she is Larrakia and Wadjigan from her father’s side and Arabunna from her mother’s side.

Before landing her current role at Google, Candice completed a Bachelor of Computer Science at RMIT, a cyber security internship at Westpac and worked in a couple of different security and software roles. Now, as a blue team security engineer, it’s her job to detect cyber security threats to Google and keeps systems safe from hackers.

“A fun part of my job is being able to engineer new detections to be deployed across the fleet,” Candice says.

Read Candice’s full profile here

To find more STEM role models, head to our profiles hub. Here you can search by STEM or your ‘X’ (your hobby, interest or passion).

We are adding more profiles all the time, so be sure to bookmark the page and subscribe to the Careers with STEM e-newsletter for updates.

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