Meet our STEM Superstars

Monday, 7 December 2020

Two stellar female role models, an electrochemist and engineer, Dr Jessica Allen, and coastal scientist, Dr Hannah Power, have been announced as Australia’s newest ‘Superstars of STEM’.

image of the STEM Superstars
Dr Hannah Power and Dr Jessica Allen

Dr Power and Dr Allen of the University of Newcastle are among 60 brilliant women who have been chosen for this acclaimed national program.

The Superstars of STEM program was created in 2017 by Science & Technology Australia to help demolish gender stereotypes about who can work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and boost the media visibility of women in STEM.

It aims to build a critical mass of Australian women scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians to become media role models for young women and girls – and to work towards equal representation in the media of women and men working in all fields in STEM.

Dr Allen said she was excited about the support she will receive from the program.

“Because I work in the field of energy research, and in particular renewable energy sources, there’s a great deal of media interest in my work. I’m really looking forward to learning new skills and building a supportive new communication network,” Dr Allen said.

Dr Power is thrilled with the opportunity to develop her science communication skills through this program.

“It’s a real honour to be selected from a highly competitive field,” Dr Power said.

“There’s an increasing interest from the public in the work I do on coastal processes and tsunami, so I’m looking forward to learning more about how to share the work I do with the public.”

The University of Newcastle’s Women in STEMM* Chair, Professor Billie Bonevski, congratulated Hannah and Jessica on this significant achievement.

“The selection process for Superstars of STEM is fiercely competitive. It is such great news to have Jessica and Hannah’s expertise and potential recognised by a panel of discipline-specific experts and independent science communicators,” Professor Bonevski said.

“They will be incredible ambassadors for our University.”

Dr Allen and Dr Power are also two of the  University’s inaugural Research Advantage Women in Research Fellows.

Professor Janet Nelson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, welcomed the announcement and said it was evidence of how researchers are dedicated to increasing their impact and engagement through science communication.

“Both Hannah and Jessica are regulars in the media speaking about the research they do, so it’s wonderful to see their selection in this program which will further develop their skills and promote the important work they do.”

The program will commence in January 2021.

The full list of new Superstars is available on the STA website and to read the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews’ MP announcement, click here.

The University of Newcastle is proud to be among the first 15 Australian research institutions to receive the Bronze Award under the Athena SWAN Charter.

*The University of Newcastle refers to STEMM – science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine.

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.