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Natasha Hurley-Walker Image: ICRAR/Curtin

Natasha Hurley-Walker Image: ICRAR/Curtin

ICRAR-Curtin University astrophysicist Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker has been named one of Australia’s Superstars of STEM for 2019/2020 by science minister Karen Andrews.

Dr Hurley-Walker was one of 60 researchers selected for the two-year program, which equips female scientists and technologists with advanced communication skills and genuine opportunities to use them—in the media, on stage and speaking with decision makers.

The announcement was made in Melbourne this morning.

Dr Hurley-Walker said she was excited to be part of the program.

“After training in 2019, I’ll be talking directly to WA high school students in 2020, showing them the kinds of careers available in science and how rewarding it can be,” she said.

“It’s also a great opportunity to meet other leading female scientists from around Australia, to learn from and be inspired by them.”

Superstars of STEM aims to smash society’s gender assumptions about scientists and increase the public visibility of women in STEM.

The program was developed by Science & Technology Australia to create a critical mass of celebrity Australian female scientists and technologists—role models for young women and girls— and to work towards equal representation in the media of women and men in STEM.

Dr Hurley-Walker said it was important to show there were many women in STEM today.

“I dream of the day when you could ask a young child to draw a scientist and they’re just as likely to draw a woman as draw a man,” she said.

Science & Technology Australia president Professor Emma Johnston said the women selected would share their scientific superpowers with as many Australians as possible following the launch.

“Each Superstar will connect with hundreds of school children; feature in local, national and international media; and serve as a representative for their work, their discipline and their sector,” she said.

“We are extremely proud to have seen hundreds of capable, skilled, confident women apply for the program, and really look forward to sharing the stories of these impressive 60 Superstars with the world.”