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Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Indigenous STEM Awards

The Indigenous STEM Awards recognise, reward and celebrate the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and scientists who are studying and working in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field, as well as the integral role schools, teachers and mentors have in supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in pursuing STEM education and careers. The awards also recognise the immense value of connecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with inspirational STEM role models, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

There are a total of twelve awards over seven categories that cover high school and undergraduate students, STEM professionals, schools, teachers and mentors.

The 2018 Indigenous STEM Awards winners, Areyonga School, Rhett Loban, Tui Nolan, Taylah Griffin, Jordan Salmon, Jordan Griffiths, Marcus Lacey, Markus Honnef, Sha-Kira Austin, Deklan, Stacey Edwards, Renee Edwards and Lara Riley.

“Through participation and recognition of Indigenous peoples working in STEM, everyone can benefit and learn from each other to power innovation”

A remote school in the Northern Territory, a virtual reality designer and a graduate systems engineer are the big winners of the third Indigenous STEM Awards, announced last week at a ceremony in Areyonga in the Northern Territory.

Associate Lecturer at Macquarie University and designer of Torres Strait Virtual Reality, Rhett Loban, received the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander STEM Professional Career Achievement Award.

Torres Strait Virtual Reality is a virtual reality game to highlight the unique traditions and history of the Torres Strait Islander people.

The game illustrates environmental knowledge, astronomy, stories and cultural practices specific to the Torres Strait Islands.

Rhett, a Torres Strait Islander, is passionate about using new technology and ways of learning in schools and universities.

“There isn’t a lot of digital media out there in terms of Indigenous content, particularly for Torres Strait Islander content,” he said.

“Through participation and recognition of Indigenous peoples working in STEM, everyone can benefit and learn from each other to power innovation”.

“I really enjoy using new and digital media within education. At Macquarie University we are setting up a virtual reality lab and looking how we might use virtual reality in schools and universities.”

Taylah Griffin , winner of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tertiary Student STEM Achievement Award is a proud Gangulu woman who grew up in Gordonvale in Far North Queensland.

She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Electrical and Aerospace Engineering (Honours) at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and works for Boeing Defence Australia as a Graduate Systems Engineer.

“My love for both my culture, and for STEM, are my motivations,” she said.

“I’m the first Indigenous person to graduate with Honours in Electrical and Aerospace Engineering, and the first Indigenous female to graduate with any engineering degree at QUT.”

“The future job market will be led by STEM and currently, less than one per cent of Indigenous students are studying STEM at university.

“If we don’t put a spotlight on Indigenous excellence and promote STEM to young Indigenous Australians, then the gap will continue to grow.”

“If we don’t put a spotlight on Indigenous excellence and promote STEM to young Indigenous Australians, then the gap will continue to grow.”

Areyonga School won the School Award for their bilingual two-way science program.

The school works closely with a community of Elders who share their incredibly valuable traditional ecological knowledge with staff and students.

Each of the winners will have a presentation in their home communities throughout March and April.

The Indigenous STEM Award program is part of the Indigenous STEM Education Project, managed by CSIRO and funded by BHP Foundation.

The Indigenous STEM Education Project aims to increase participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Click here to see the full winners list and read their bios

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