2022 Queensland Women in STEM Prize winners announced

12 July 2022

Four outstanding Queensland STEM professionals have been recognised for their work on green energy technology, nurturing diversity in STEM spaces, future-proofing the climate, and protecting ocean health through mathematics and communication at last night’s 2022 Queensland Women in STEM Prize award ceremony.

 

Now in its seventh year and presented by Queensland Museum Network and the Queensland Government, the prize recognises women who are making a difference to the world, in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields.

 

The four STEM professionals were awarded across three categories: Judges’ Award, Breaking Barriers Award and Highly Commended with a total of $15,000 going towards helping support their work.

 

The Judges’ Award was awarded to Katrina Wruck from the Queensland University of Technology, who for the past four years of her PhD research project, has been investigating environmentally friendly ways to convert mining waste products into synthetic zeolite.

 

This research into green energy conversion technologies has the potential to provide significant benefits for industries around the world that rely on the manufacture of synthetic zeolite by enabling the use of the mining waste to drive the industry towards a circular economy.

 

Katrina is an outstanding leader in her field who actively engages students and the wider community to encourage STEM uptake and is a passionate advocate for making STEM accessible for everyone, especially girls and First Nations students.

 

The Breaking Barriers Award was awarded to Jennifer Leigh Campbell from Griffith University. As a proud Aboriginal woman, environmental engineer, researcher and lecturer for the School of Engineering and Built Environment at Griffith, Jennifer is fostering diversity and inclusivity through programs to overcome the stigma around STEM careers and broaden the scope of representation in Queensland’s STEM industries. 

 

The Highly Commended Awards were presented to:

  • Alise Fox, a Fisheries Scientist who is using mathematics to monitor sustainable fishing levels and interpret rich datasets into stories from beneath the waves of the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Johanna Nalau, an Adaptation Scientist, preparing and adapting for the impact of climate change by creating evidence-based models to support decision makers in climate policy.

Queensland Museum Network CEO Dr Jim Thompson said entries to the 2022 Queensland Women in STEM Prize were exceptional and showed a depth and breadth of important work helping to improve our changing world.

 

“More than 50 Queensland women, who have made contributions to STEM across the state entered this year’s awards,” Dr Thompson said.

 

“These winners have shown outstanding dedication and leadership through ground-breaking research and initiatives to inspire STEM engagement in the wider Queensland community.” 

 

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the awards highlight the incredible achievements of Queensland women and the positive impacts of STEM, now and into the future.

 

“I commend the contribution of world-leading research, science education and leadership from these brilliant and talented women who are making a real difference to our society and everyday lives,” Minister Enoch said.

 

“The popularity of the annual World Science Festival Brisbane is testimony to the community’s passion for STEM, and the Queensland Government is proud to support the Queensland Museum in its seventh year of championing women in STEM and its related fields.”

 

Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman said it’s wonderful to be able to celebrate the achievements of our outstanding women in STEM.

“The winners and highly commended recipients of this year’s prize have demonstrated innovation and a drive for change through their work that will create crucial outcomes for women and girls to step into STEM industries,” Minister Fentiman said.

“These women are not only making significant contributions to research and advancements in areas such as the environment, health and new industries, they are also weaving in advocacy, mentorship and social change to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals.”

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs Meaghan Scanlon emphasized the important contributions of the 2022 prize recipients. 

 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the important role of STEM professionals and their work in helping to navigate rapidly changing world events,” Minister Scanlon said

 

“With issues like global health, climate change and renewable energy sources high on the agenda, a highly skilled STEM workforce is essential to making informed decisions for adaption and change so, I congratulate all the winners whose work is contributing to improving Queensland.”

 

Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Hugh Possingham also commended the recipients of this year’s prize.

“The increase in entrants for the 2022 Queensland Women in STEM Prize is indicative of the growing need for and value of science, technology, engineering and maths, and we need to continue to foster that enthusiasm,” Professor Possingham said

“The workforce requires varied STEM skills, and our state is going to be in a better place if our STEM workforce is more diverse and representative of society.”     

More information on the recipients is available at https://qwisp.qm.qld.gov.au/Entries

 

Queensland Women in STEM Prize 2022 recipients

JUDGES’ AWARD
Katrina Wruck
MORE INFO: Depolymerisation of waste natural zeolite rock and green conversion to synthetic zeolite

BREAKING BARRIERS AWARD
Jennifer Leigh Campbell
MORE INFO: Transforming Spaces in STEM through Play and Purpose

HIGHLY COMMENDED AWARDS
Alise Fox
MORE INFO: Plenty of fish in the sea? Using mathematics to save the ocean, educate, and communicate with the masses
Johanna Nalau
MORE INFO: The unexpected value of climate adaptation heuristics

The Queensland Women in STEM Prize is presented by Queensland Museum Network in partnership with the Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist and Office for Women.

 

Media Enquiries:

media@qm.qld.gov.au

Kylie Hay, Senior Media Officer, 0434 565 852

Christine Robertson, Senior Media Officer, 0417 741 710