Raising STEM voices: DeadlyScience and WithSTEMYouCan
The merging of Indigenous traditions and Western science, particularly in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM), holds incredible potential for shaping a future that values diverse contributions and drives meaningful change.
Indigenous knowledge systems, passed down through generations, offer insights into the natural world, sustainability, and holistic problem-solving, broadening understanding and fostering a more inclusive approach to scientific inquiry.
Highlighting STEM diversity and opportunities can have an impact on the aspirations of young people. It not only assures them that their dreams are within reach, but it also instils a sense of empowerment, encouraging them to envision themselves as the next generation of innovators, designers, chemists and artists.
Sharing Indigenous Perspectives and Knowledges
DeadlyScience is passionate about increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in science and STEM-related opportunities.
With the aim of providing primary and high school learners with STEM resources and practical science experiments, DeadlyScience has supported 800+ schools, reaching more than 34,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students across Australia.
One of its mentors is Madii Page, a Wiradjuri woman and Senior Indigenous Affairs Advisor at Laing O’Rourke Australia.
She says that STEM has opened up several professional opportunities and friendships. “I’ve been able to understand the world in a different way and take my experiences with Country to another level,” Madii explains.
“DeadlyScience also allows me to share these passions with our young mob and inspire them, something I wish I could have been involved in when I was younger,” she notes.
By honouring the legacy of First Nations peoples as Australia’s First Scientists, the initiative celebrates their role as pioneers in STEM and champions them as future professionals in the field.
Alyce Lythall is a freshwater Murri woman from South-West Queensland. She’s also a Senior User Experience Designer.
“It’s been a privilege to learn from my Indigenous brothers and sisters in CSIRO and beyond about how our culture is extending, augmenting and bettering the traditional Western notion of STEM,” Alyce says. “It’s exciting to work at the intersection of the future, the present and the past.”
Isaak Kadel is a descendent of the Samsep tribe from Erub Island in the Torres Straits and a graduate of one of CSIRO’s Indigenous programs.
His specialty is animal husbandry and he spends most days breeding and caring for prawns and salmon.
Before completing the program, Isaak had no experience in aquaculture. “Now I am leading experiments,” he says. Isaak highlights the importance of seizing all opportunities.
“Mentorships, initiatives and fellowships provide great opportunities and access for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander kids to gain insight into a career in science and research through the experience of someone who works in the field,” he notes.
Igniting curiosity in STEM and demystify career pathways
STEM careers include a range of possibilities, from constructing robots, developing life-saving vaccines to sound engineering and working with endangered species.
These fields offer diverse opportunities and provide fulfilling and rewarding career paths.
#WithSTEMYouCan aims to showcase the diversity of STEM careers and professionals and highlight that the benefits of STEM education go far beyond just job opportunities.