Last updated May 29, 2018 at 12:09 pm
A cancer researcher, a coding workshop founder, leading educators, and outstanding students win Indigenous STEM Awards.
The Indigenous STEM Awards is a program run by CSIRO to recognise, reward and celebrate the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and scientists in STEM. It also highlights the role schools, teachers and mentors have in supporting ATSI students in STEM education and careers. This is the second year of the awards program.
The 2017 Indigenous STEM Award winners were announced last week at a ceremony on Martu Country, in Wiluna, Western Australia.
Achievement in STEM Careers
One of the top prizes, the STEM Professional Career Achievement Award, was given to cancer researcher and Gunditjmara woman Dr Misty Jenkins. She is currently the head of an immunology research team at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. She’s the first Indigenous Australian to attend Oxford and Cambridge Universities as a postdoctoral fellow.
“I see a lack of Indigenous voices at the table across the industry and I want to see more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people involved,” said Dr Jenkins.
“It is essential to have an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural lens applied to Western Science, just like it is important to have others with diverse backgrounds and genders in senior positions in our workplaces.
“This breadth and depth of diversity is what is going to drive innovation.”
She is a strong promoter of STEM literacy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
“By being visible, you are showing students that STEM is a viable career and that you can discover things that have never been discovered before,” she said.
The Early Career Professional Award was given to Dean Foley, a Kamilaroi man and founder of Barayamal, an Indigenous owned and managed charity that assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander entrepreneurs through coding programs for young people, mentoring and workshops.
They each received $20,000 to support their work as Indigenous STEM Education ambassadors in 2018.
Encouraging STEM education in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
CSIRO Indigenous STEM Education Project Director, Therese Postma said, “All of our award winners inspire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.”
“Educators Fifi Harris (STEM Champion Award) and Camila Zuniga-Greve (Teacher Award) demonstrate on a daily basis how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students can be effectively engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
Wiluna Remote Community School won the School Award for their work with engaging with the Martu rangers and the Wiluna community to use traditional knowledge to teach science to students. The school will receive $10,000 to contribute towards its programs.
The importance of these awards not only recognises the all the winners’ achievements but act as role models for younger generations.
Each of the winners will have a presentation in their home communities throughout April.
Congratulations to winners Dr Misty Jenkins, Dean Foley, Shailyn Isaac, Kayla Pattel, Jessica Storrar, Camila Zuniga-Greve, Fifi Harris, Boyden George, Willow Wells, Angela Barely, Russel Sands and Wiluna Remote Community School. #IndigenousStemAwards #DeadlySTEM pic.twitter.com/NIVAq9IcKo
— CSIROevents (@CSIROevents) March 28, 2018
Full list of Indigenous STEM Award winners:
STEM Professional Career Achievement Award – Dr Misty Jenkins (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne)
STEM Professional Early Career Award – Dean Foley (Barayamal, Brisbane)
Tertiary/Undergraduate Student Award – Shailyn Isaac, University of Western Australia
Secondary Student Award – Kayla Pattel (Tullawong State High School, Caboolture) and Jessica Storrar (Gungahlin College, Canberra)
School Award – Wiluna Remote Community School (Western Australia)
Teacher Award – Camila Zuniga-Greve (Heatley State School, Townsville)
STEM Champion Award – Fifi Harris (Leonora District High School, Leonora)
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Science Award – Boyden George (Leonora District High School, Leonora) and Willow Wells (Thuringowa State High School, Townsville)
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Maths Award – Angela Barely (Innisfail State College, Innisfail) and Russell Sands (Innisfail State College, Innisfail)