STEM: As through the eyes of a rural Queenslander

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1. SUMMARY

At current time I am an undergraduate at the University of Queensland studying a Bachelor of Biotechnology full-time. As well as that, I am lucky enough to be working with Origin energy as a Vacation Program student, a CareerTrackers student and an active participant in the CSIRO Indigenous Women's STEM Academy. During my work I am lucky enough to travel and advocate for Indigenous and female representation in the STEM fields to many different audiences around the country. My particular work focus' on increasing energy yield from natural gas without creating extra infrastructure - an in between stage between non-renewable's and renewable's. I am involved in both field studies and lab based research which spans exploration and production with microbes, natural gas and plant biology.

2. BENEFIT

Concerning the STEM industry Queensland has a way to go for the future of Australia. My work and studies works to minimise the gap between STEM exploration and production and manufacturing. This kind of work hopes to increase the economic viability of both renewable's and the natural gas industry through increased exploration into the use of biology in the industry. Australia relies on particular industries to increase economic value - exporting beef, natural gas, coal, etc - which, with the technology being researched an increase in production and exportation of natural gas is expected; this increase is beneficial to both clean energy production in Australia and secondary industries.


The biological nature of the research I am involved in has applications in many different industries and has the possibility to change perceptions concerning the use of microbes throughout the different industries. As well as this any research into the applications of an easily sourced material - or in this case organism - which has the potential to increase productivity into energy production is a beneficial situation for Australia.


The change from non-renewable to renewable energy is a long term procedure which requires intensive planning and an incredibly large budget. The main focus of the research I participate in is to facilitate this procedure in a simplistic manner which does not require intricate planning and time to implement unique short term infrastructure. Moreover, the technology as it is in research is applicable to an entire natural gas energy industry - without further developments. Further research into the microbial technology could theoretically demonstrate even more beneficial applications for more than just the energy industry.


Queensland produces both some of the most renewable and non-renewable energy; the amount of natural gas is both uncharted and untapped, my work exists to ensure the technology being implemented to increase these sources is only beneficial. Environmental awareness for Queensland is only increasing as time passes, the research is in place to ensure the technology has no adverse effects, is contained, and behaves as predicted and where predicted. Without this reassurance the technology, and Queensland, would be worse off.

3. ENGAGEMENT

Part of my involvement in the companies Origin and CareerTrackers as well as being a member of the CSIRO Indigenous Women's STEM academy has provided me with a large number of opportunities to advocate and engage with a range of audiences concerning STEM. Moreover, during my personal life I have also been able to increase STEM awareness through many different avenues.


As a graduation congratulations to the 2019 graduates from my previous primary school in central-west Queensland I was approached to provide a video about my current work and pathway to choosing a career in STEM. The video was displayed to the entirety of the assembly and was aimed to provide the graduates with an idea of what industries they could possible aspire to.


I was invited to host a group of grade nine Indigenous female students on a tour of two Origin assets - a power station and LPG Terminal. As well as this I was part of a Q and A with the students to help them understand my career and pathway. The tour also included interviews with multiple media outlets to spread awareness into STEM careers for both indigenous students and female students.


At the annual leadership development Institute for CareerTrackers I was given the opportunity to assist in facilitating and presenting to a group of future and current STEM students concerning the humanitarian use of engineering concerning solar energy, and microbial technology. This was followed by a presentation aimed at provided awareness into the range of STEM careers and the diverse nature of the industry's future to the entire CareerTrackers student cohort.


I have been involved in multiple radio interviews with different radio stations on the topics of STEM. As a previous recipient of the Peter Doherty Excellence in STEM award I was given the opportunity to spread awareness surrounding the involvement of STEM in rural industries such as agriculture. A focal point of the interviews was how necessary STEM was to students located in rural areas and how beneficial education on the topic was to creating opportunities with rural students.


At current time an article with The Australian focused on STEM opportunities for Indigenous females from rural areas is being organised - to be finalised in two days. The article is in hopes to raise awareness to the opportunities and possibilities in the STEM industry and covers the perspective of a current student gaining experience in said industries.


As a NYSF alumni, multiple occasions for STEM engagement are frequently occurring. Throughout the last year I have been able to attend many networking and engagement events and talk to leaders with various scientific backgrounds.


I have been involved in assisting and hosting small teaching times with primary school students as unofficial STEM events to facilitate and kinder interest into the industry through interesting topics. Teaching children about plants and how science is increasing the applications of said plants into different parts of everyday life.



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