Friday, 04 August 2023

Women in STEM Forum

I am very pleased to be with you today to launch Women in STEM.

My husband, Rod, a physicist is here with me and can I just say how wonderful it is to go through life with someone who understands how the world works and can explain it as well as he does.

We’ve both had the pleasure of meeting many South Australian women, including several of today’s speakers, who are making great strides in the STEM industry.

STEM is a great and varied career path - it’s not only jobs that require a lab coat.

STEM is perfect if you want to go out and explore the world and seek to understand how it works, and there are also many excellent opportunities right here in South Australia.

There is also growing support for women in STEM.

This comes from the leadership level, as you’ll see from today’s speakers.

Support for a career in STEM will also come from your peers.

Looking around the room, there are many young women who you might one day study and work alongside.

If you are a curious person who likes to ponder questions and pursue answers to them; if you are always looking for better ways to do things, or you can see a need for something we don’t yet have: STEM is for you.

When I was at high school, I really thought there was nothing my female friends and I couldn’t do or be once we left school, including STEM careers.

I encourage you all to expand your horizons of who you think you can be, even just a little if it feels overwhelming to think big.

After last year’s Women in STEM Forum at which she spoke, I was pleased to meet Tiahni Adamson, a distant relative she pointed out, but more importantly a young Torres Strait Islander woman, who’s received a number of awards recently for her work in science and aquaculture, along with her commitment to bringing First Nations Communities into the climate change conversation.

Tiahni is the Community Engagement Officer at Adelaide-based CH4 Global, a climate change solutions company.

The goal of CH4 Global is to fight climate change by reducing methane emissions by adding asparagopsis, a type of seaweed, to food eaten by livestock. This reduces their emissions by up to 90 percent.

Tiahni is also responsible at CH4 for ensuring Indigenous knowledge is embedded into all their projects, and that opportunities are provided for communities on country.

I am also inspired by the work of Professor Caroline McMillen, Chief Scientist for South Australia and our MC today.

She is a key driver of strategic thinking into how South Australia can grow its economy through research and development, and the advancement of future industries.

She also has an important role to play in maintaining South Australia’s proud reputation as a centre of scientific excellence.

Flavia Tata Nardini, our next (virtual) speaker this morning, is equally impressive.

A rocket scientist, Flavia is co-founder and CEO of one of Australia’s most exciting space startups, Fleet Space Technologies.

She’s also making an important contribution to our state’s reputation for its space sector, which then plays a role in attracting even more innovative space and tech companies to do business in South Australia.

Professor Caroline McMillen and Flavia Tata Nardini are just two of the inspiring speakers who you will hear from today.

I thank all these women for generously sharing their stories with you.

Students, I trust you will find today’s forum very helpful as you consider your future career paths.

For those of you who are doing other STEM Day Out activities, I’m sure you will learn a lot and have a lot of fun today.

It’s now my great pleasure to declare the forum open!

Coming events