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Sabine Bellstedt

ICRAR-UWA astronomer Dr Sabine Bellstedt has been named one of Australia’s Superstars of STEM for 2021/2022.

Dr Bellstedt is one of 60 brilliant women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics who want to step into the spotlight as media stars chosen for this acclaimed national program.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews will today officially announce those chosen for Science & Technology Australia’s game-changing Superstars of STEM program in 2021-22.

Science & Technology Australia Chief Executive Officer Misha Schubert said the program gave women in STEM stronger skills and confidence to step into expert commentary roles in the media.

“It’s hard to be what you can’t see,” she said. “Women are still seriously under-represented in STEM leadership roles.”

“The Superstars of STEM program sets out to smash stereotypes of what a scientist, technologist, engineer or mathematician look like – these powerful role models show girls that STEM is for them.”

“We can’t thank the Australian Government enough for its strong support of this important program, which is already having a profound impact.”

“Sustaining this type of program for the long-term is more important than ever amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in the STEM workforce.”

Dr Bellstedt said she was thrilled to have been chosen from a very competitive national field and excited for this opportunity to share her love for science with Australians, through her astronomical research.

“Over the next two years I hope not only to speak with students about why a future in STEM is important and exciting, but also to help show the public that we can be proud of our scientific research, which will be critical in tackling the global challenges we currently face.”

Since doing the program, current Superstar Dr Kudzai Kanhutu has become a regular on ABC’s The Drum, regularly sharing her expertise in frontline health challenges, technology and current affairs.

Another current Superstar Dr Kate Cole generated front-page media in May that led to a ban on hundreds on unsafe masks, protecting frontline healthcare workers and the Australian public.

“There is no way I would have spoken to the media before the Superstars of STEM program, and if I hadn’t done that, more than 600 questionable masks would still be on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods,” she says.

Dr Bellstedt is not the first ICRAR person to be selected for the program. ICRAR-Curtin University astrophysicist Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker was selected for the 2019-20 program.

Supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, these next 60 Superstars of STEM will participate in the program in 2021 and 2022.