Dec 07, 2020In The Community

Meet the Superstars of STEM Smashing the Glass Ceiling

The Superstars of STEM Program shines a light on the extraordinary women employed by Australia’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) industries.  

The program exists to smash gender assumptions about scientists; highlight the vital contribution made by women scientists and technologists; build the participants’ confidence in a range of professional settings; and serve as an inspiration for future generations of young women and girls. 

The program, which found funding through a government grant in 2016 and began in 2017, is organised by Science & Technology Australia (STA) and supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER). 

The program supports 60 participants over a two-year period, building their public profile and empowering them to share their stories through media appearances and public speaking opportunities. The program has so far supported a total of 150 STEM superstars in this manner over five years, who can then deliver feedback to support the program’s continued improvement. 

Gas is also producing luminaries worthy of recognition in the program; last year’s cohort included Carolyn Thomas, an Offshore Risk Environment & Regulatory Supervisor at ExxonMobil Australia, and this year sees even more representation. 

University of Newcastle lecturer Dr Jessica Allen and ExxonMobil Process Engineering Team Lead Caitlyn Broberg are two of this year’s picks. Jessica is already recognised for her expertise in the field of hydrogen production, while Caitlyn’s efforts at the Altona Refinery in Victoria have helped to deliver vital fuel supply to Victorian communities.

Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said that the program upended the adage, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see. 

“Gender equity in STEM is a key focus of the Morrison Government and we’re taking action to support women in STEM careers and provide diverse STEM role models to inspire the next generation,” Minister Andrews said. 

“Since this program began in 2017, its participants have reached more than 30 million people through media and grassroots activities, including connecting with more than 15,000 school children across all States and Territories.”