TERM 1 — 2022

Shape Your Future — STEM career journeys with Australia’s rising stars

STEM Career journeys

TERM 1 — 2022

Ever wondered what inspires someone to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM)?

Join us as we give students across Australia the chance to interact with the country’s brightest minds who are shaping the future through STEM. The series will showcase the diverse and dynamic journey’s  that these inspiring individuals have taken in their career journey’s.

Each speaker is a young researcher or academic who has worked in both the tertiary education and industry sectors. The series will encourage students to keep an open mind about the subjects they choose to take in high school and the diverse journey’s their education can lead them on later in life.

Each session includes a time for open questions from the audience so students can explore the ideas that fascinated them about each scientist. Students will also be challenged with extension activities to be undertaken after the events to deepen their appreciation for the ground breaking work of these scientists and engineers.

This virtual series is organised by ATSE’s STEM education in schools initiative STELR

See our Term 2, 2022 webinars

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Thursday 17 February 202211:00am-12:00pm (AEDT) 


Nurturing happy & healthy oceans
Explorations in marine biology and ecology

Environmental changes are affecting our marine and coastal systems. Dr Steph Gardner’s research investigates how microbes, like bacteria, influence health and function of reef organisms like corals, fish and algae. Dr Alice Jones studies the human impacts on coastal habitats and nature-based solutions to climate change, her research focusses on ‘blue carbon’, which is the uptake and storage of carbon in coastal ecosystems like mangroves. Join us to hear about Steph and Alice’s on their journey to becoming scientists to help the health of our oceans and marine life.

WATCH the recorded webinar

Dr Steph Gardner  | UNSW Sydney  |  Australian Coral Reef Society  |  Superstars of STEM 
Twitter: @StephGGardner #SuperstarsOfSTEM @unswbees 

Dr Alice Jones  |  The University of Adelaide — Faculty of Sciences  |  AIPS Tall Poppy
Twitter: @Alice_R_Jones @aipolsci @UniofAdelaide 

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Thursday 24 February 20222:00pm-3:00pm (AEDT) 


The science behind the students
Data science to improve teaching and learning

How does a scientist help a teacher teach their students better? Dr Vitomir Kovanović  has developed a way to use data science and machine learning to improve teaching and learning in Australian schools. His research has focused on developing systems that use student-generated data and learning management systems to provide important insights for student learning. Thus, improving student success and wellbeing. Join us to hear about Vitomir’s journey to becoming a scientist that helps teachers to assist students at school.   


Dr Vitomir Kovanović  |  University of South Australia  |  AIPS Tall Poppy
Twitter: @vkovanovic @UniversitySA @aipolsci 

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Tuesday 1 March 2022 — 11:30am – 12:30pm (AEDT) 

Let’s get inside our heads! 
The science behind brains & minds

Associate Professor Jill Newby & Associate Professor Yen Ying Lim
Clinical Psychology & Neuropsychology 

The human brain has many complexities, with so many different areas to study. Jill is a leading expert on the technology-based treatment of depression, and anxiety in adults, and leads a program of research into e-mental health, smartphone apps, and virtual reality interventions. Her research aims to improve the lives of people living with depression and anxiety through developing new and improved treatments. Yen’s research aims to improve the lives of people living with Alzheimer’s disease, and those who are at-risk, by understanding the contribution of genetic, biological, and lifestyle risk and protective factors on cognitive decline and disease progression in Alzheimer’s disease. Her research is also focused on the design and development of digital tests, platforms and interventions for the early detection of cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease. Join us to hear about their journeys to becoming scientists looking into two specialty areas that affect the brain.   


Associate Professor Jill Newby The Black Dog Institute  |  UNSW Sydney  |  AIPS Tall Poppy
Twitter: @drjillnewby @blackdoginst @UNSWScience @aipolsci 

Associate Professor Yen Ying Lim  |  Monash University  |  AIPS Tall Poppy
Twitter: @yenyinglim @turnerinstitute @healthybrain_au @aipolsci 

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Thursday 10 March 2022 — 2:00pm-3:00pm (AEDT) 

Let’s circulate!
Healthy ageing through vascular science

Dr Rachel Climie’s research focusses on vascular ageing and how exercise can be used to prevent or delay this. She is currently leading the Youth Vascular Consortium, which is an international collaborative project investigating the risk factors for premature vascular ageing from childhood. Professor Levon Khachigian is a vascular cell and molecular biologist whose research has centered on understanding mechanisms underpinning the inducible expression of disease-causing genes in our blood vessels. Join us to hear about their journeys to support healthy ageing through vascular science.


Dr Rachel Climie  |  University of Tasmania & Menzies Institute  |  AIPS Tall Poppy
Twitter: @RachelClimie @ResearchMenzies @aipolsci  

Professor Levon Khachigian   |  UNSW Sydney  |  AIPS Tall Poppy
Twitter: @UNSWMedicine @aipolsci 

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Tuesday 15 March 2022 — 11:00am-12:00pm (AEDT) 

How do you make trains run on time? 
Transport network coordination

Jessica Pritchard’s job description has not ever been simply ‘Statistician’ or ‘Mathematician’. Instead, she’s been an Analyst, Demand Coordinator, Research Officer, Operations Superintendent and Customer Service Manager. None of these titles highlight her STEM education, but Jess’ career progression has shown that there are so many opportunities and career paths available with a STEM background.


Jessica Pritchard  |  Transport for NSW  |  Superstars of STEM
Twitter: @TransportforNSW  #SuperstarsOfSTEM 

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Tuesday 22 March 2022 — 2:00pm-3:00pm (AEDT)

Light it up!
The science of solar

Professor Kylie Catchpole investigates how light interacts with semiconductors, so that better, cheaper solar panels can be designed.  She is part of a world-class research team looking at all aspects of how solar energy can become a major part of the world’s energy supply. Kylie’s research has discovered that covering solar cells with tiny particles of silver helps to absorb light better. Join us to hear about her journey to becoming a scientist who is looking at how to harness and improve renewable energy.


Professor Kylie Catchpole  |  ANU – College of Engineering and Computer Science | AIPS Tall Poppy
Twitter: @anucecs @aipolsci

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Thursday 24 March 2022 — 2:00pm-3:00pm (AEDT) 

Try to hack this! 
Take a quantum leap

Current encryption methods are likely to be defeated by the impending development of next-generation “quantum” computers. Dr Ben Sparkes is developing a device that can boost the maximum distance of quantum cryptography. He has developed a quantum memory that is built of exotic atoms that have been cooled to a few millionths of a degree above absolute zero. This device will provide a quantum leap in absolutely-secure global communications for government, defence, business and the broader community. In his spare time he developed a Laser Radio to illustrate how information can be transmitted via light. Join us to hear about his journey to becoming a scientist who’s research and inventions will help protect all of us.   


Dr Ben Sparkes  |  Defence Science and Technology Group  |  AIPS Tall Poppy
Twitter: @SparkyQI @DefenceScience @aipolsci @DIP_SouthAust 

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Tuesday 29 March 2022 — 11:30am-12.30pm (AEDT) 

What to do with the poo?    
Carbon-neutral solutions for sewage

Professor Qilin Wang has developed a suite of award-winning technologies to revolutionise the practice and science of urban water management. He contributes to maximising renewable energy recovery from sewage to turn sewage treatment plants into carbon-neutral energy generators. Join us to hear about his journey to becoming an environmental engineer developing carbon-neutral solutions for our sewage.


Professor Qilin Wang |  UTS  |  AIPS Tall Poppy
Twitter: @Qilin_Wang_ @aipolsci @UTSFEIT @UTSResearch