The Superstar of STEM program is giving new visibility to women as role models with the vision of inspiring more girls into science, tech, engineering and maths careers.
A nationwide search has begun for the next 60 superstars of STEM – brilliant, stereotype-busting women in science, technology, engineering and maths keen to step into the spotlight as media stars.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews launched the program last week, and is urging anyone women in the field to pop in a nomination – either for themselves or a colleague.
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“With women still under-represented in STEM – science, technology, engineering and maths – it’s so important that we have Superstars of STEM to inspire and encourage more women and girls to look at STEM,” she said.
“I encourage you to join a very worthwhile program and be part of inspiring future generations.”
Science & Technology Australia Chief Executive Officer Misha Schubert added that the initiative has given women in STEM the skills and confidence to step into the spotlight and more visible leadership roles.
“It’s hard to be what you can’t see,” she said. “Women are still seriously under-represented in STEM leadership roles, and fewer than one in five experts talking about science in the media are women.”
The future is female
With women only making up 12% of the highest academic seniority level in STEM fields and 13.7% of CEOs in the professional, scientific and technical services industries, the program is an important vehicle in promoting the visibility of our local superstars.
Since it began, the first 90 Superstars of STEM have featured in more than 4,800 news stories across Australia and reached more than 18,000 students in schools. We’ve featured loads of them across both our print mags and digital platforms too!
One of the current Superstars Dr Kari Pitts is an experienced forensic scientist busting every CSI stereotype in the book through her work at the WA ChemCentre physical evidence lab.
Another Superstar – director of astronomy and space science at CSIRO Dr Sarah Pearce – is leading the national science agency’s space program and campaigning for more young girls to get into STEM careers in space.
Superstar of STEM and aerospace engineer Dr Bianca Capra said the program gave new visibility to women as role models to inspire girls into STEM.
Ms Schubert said the program was about building capacity in the STEM sector so more women have the confidence and training to be on the public stage and become go-to STEM experts in the media. Women from diverse backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply.
“We need the talents of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women of colour, women in underrepresented disciplines, women from the LGBTQIA+ and disability communities, women in regional areas and women right across the stages of their careers in this program and in STEM.”
“That strong commitment to diversity has been key to the success of Superstars.”
Supported by the federal Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, the next 60 Superstars of STEM will participate in the program over two years, starting in January 2021.
Author: Cassie Steel
As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.