Zoe Doubleday
Original Published Date: 
Friday, February 5, 2021

The Science and Technology Australia (STA) program, Superstars of STEM aims to smash society’s gender assumptions about scientists and increase the public visibility of women in STEM. The program brings together a critical mass of Australian women who work as scientists and technologists – as role models for young women and girls – and is working to achieve equal representation in the media of women and men working in all fields in STEM.

The 2020 cohort of Superstars includes a number of ARC grant recipients, including a current ARC Future Fellow and two Discovery Early Career Researcher Awardees (DECRAs):

  • Dr Zoe Doubleday is a 2019 Future Fellow from the University of South Australia who is establishing a global framework to trace the provenance of seafood, using a new technology that will trace the geographic origins of seafood from catch to table and empower authorities to combat fraud.
  • Dr Yee Lian Chew is a 2020 DECRA recipient from Macquarie University who is examining how neural circuits in the brain alter their function in coordinated ways to produce adaptive changes in behaviour.
  • Dr Jessica Allen, a 2020 DECRA recipient from The University of Newcastle is developing a negative-emission manufacturing process to produce advanced carbon materials, using captured carbon dioxide.

The Superstars of STEM initiative empowers participants to share their story and their work with general audiences by equipping them with advanced communications skills and an understanding of traditional media, social media and story-telling. The program is building the profile of 60 women employed in STEM through training in public speaking, media and communicating with influence and through creating opportunities to practice their newly acquired skills. To encourage young women and girls to study and stay in STEM, program participants are visiting schools and workplaces as role models to build confidence and smash psychological barriers, such as 'imposter syndrome'.

Dr Doubleday says that the program supercharges the visibility of women in science – creating a critical mass of women in the media spotlight.

'Women are under-represented in STEM and the higher you go the more underrepresented they become, until, more or less, they largely disappear,' says Dr Doubleday.

'But with programs like Superstars of STEM, change is afoot, and I am so proud and so excited to be part of it'.


Photo credit: 

Dr Zoe Doubleday, a Superstar of STEM and ARC Future Fellow, who is establishing a global framework to trace the provenance of seafood. Credit: Andre Luiten.