KCA Chair named Superstar of STEM

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Source: USQ Media Release

USQ’s Dr Erin Rayment has been named a national Superstar of STEM, to help smash society’s gender assumptions about scientists and bring to light inspiring examples of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics roles.

Dr Rayment, who began her career as a biomedical scientist, is now Director (Office of Research Development) and leads a team that manages strategic research partnerships, contract research, consultancy, commercialisation and e-research at the University.

She is also the Chair of Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia and Director of the Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation.

The seasoned negotiator was one of 60 scientists, technologists and educators chosen for Science & Technology Australia’s coveted 2019-20 Superstars of STEM program, which aims to create a critical mass of celebrity Australian female scientists and technologists, to work towards equal representation in the media of women and men working in all fields in STEM.

The two-year program will provide a platform for Dr Rayment to connect with hundreds of school children, as well as local, national and international media opportunities to serve as a representative for her work.

“Throughout my career, I’ve often been the only woman in the room. I firmly believe in the statement that “you can’t be what you can’t see” therefore it’s important to raise our own profiles and do everything that we can to bring other women up through the pipeline,” Dr Rayment said.

“By capturing a young audience and cultivating it to ensure they continue their appreciation for STEM skills over their lifetime, it means that we will continue to grow and develop as a society.”

Dr Rayment also highlighted the importance of effective STEM communication.

“Unfortunately, in Australia and overseas, there has been a steady loss of trust in scientific opinions and the data behind them, which can be demonstrated through the current discussion around climate change.

“For us to change this trend, we as STEM professionals need to be able to communicate our work effectively to everyday Australians. We also need to understand that we are often dealing with individuals that need to be reached on a personal level – more data or figures is simply ineffective,” she said.

“By raising our profile and contributing personal narratives, we can hopefully move the country towards creating long-term solutions for seemingly intractable problems.”

USQ Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geraldine Mackenzie, commended Dr Rayment on being selected for the highly competitive program.

“Erin’s leadership at USQ is second-to-none, with her efforts focussing on working with government, engaging with industry and connecting our research organisations, to promote bipartisan, long-term planning and investment in STEM,” Professor Mackenzie said.

“She was instrumental in leading negotiations to foster USQ’s partnership and commercialisation strategy with leading global machinery giant John Deere as well as key astrophysics collaborations with MIT, University of California and the German Space Agency.

“Erin is passionate about science, commercialisation and ensuring that research is able to create real-world outcomes, making her the perfect candidate to share her STEM story with the world.”

University of Southern Queensland Media Contact:
Laura Hunt, Email: laura.hunt@usq.edu.au Phone: 07 4631 2296 or 0439 449 708

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