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Indigenous STEM awards honour culture and science

7 March 2019

A remote Northern Territory school with a bilingual science program is one of 12 winners announced at today’s Indigenous STEM Awards.

Areyonga School, which teaches science in Pitjantjatjara and English, won the School Award and will receive $10,000 to link local Indigenous knowledge to the curriculum, developing inquiry based learning.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews congratulated Areyonga School, about 220km west of Alice Springs, and all the winners.

“In a true community effort, Areyonga School works with Elders and the community, combining traditional ecological knowledge - with the Australian science curriculum to make science lessons more relevant and engaging for the whole community.

“The partnership between the school, Elders and community is a fantastic example of nurturing students’ curiosity for science and culture.

“It is important to recognise and celebrate Indigenous STEM excellence which inspires other students to study science, technology, engineering and maths and follow their chosen career paths,” Minister Andrews said.

The school was joined by 11 other group and individual winners in the celebration at Areyonga School yesterday.

The awards recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander STEM professionals and students as well as teachers and mentors working in Indigenous STEM education.

Other winners include Rhett Loban (STEM Professional Career Achievement Award), Tui Nolan (STEM Professional Early Career Award) and Taylah Griffin (Tertiary Student Award) who are role models for others looking to forge an outstanding career.

“These awards show not just the diversity of the cultural backgrounds of the winners but the diversity in STEM jobs,” Minister Andrews said.

“STEM careers can be anything from a virtual reality designer like Rhett to physics, statistics and mathematics like Tui or engineering like Taylah.”

The Indigenous STEM Awards recognise the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, teachers and STEM professionals as well as schools, teachers and mentors working in Indigenous STEM Education. It is part of the Indigenous STEM Education Project, a partnership between BHP Foundation and CSIRO.

The Liberal National Government recognises the importance of science and technology as key drivers of Australia’s economy, and the jobs of the future more generally - that’s why we have committed over $17 million to improving diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This is part of our plan to create a further 1.25 million jobs over the next five years.

Winners:
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander STEM Professional Career Achievement Award
Rhett Loban, Macquarie University, New South Wales.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander STEM Professional Early Career Award
Tui Nolan, University of Technology Sydney, New South Wales.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tertiary Student STEM Achievement Award
Taylah Griffin, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Secondary Student STEM Achievement Award
Jordan Salmon, Clancy Catholic College, New South Wales
Jordan Griffiths, Seaton High School, South Australia.

School Award
Areyonga School, Northern Territory.

Teacher Award
Markus Honnef, Innisfail State College, Queensland.

STEM Champion Award
Marcus Lacey, Gumurr Marthakal Rangers, Northern Territory.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Science Award
Deklan, Paralowie R-12 School, South Australia
Sha-Kira Austin, Byron Bay High School, New South Wales.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Maths Award
Stacey and Renee Edwards, Mount St Bernard College, Queensland
Lara Riley, Newton Moore Senior High School, Western Australia

Media contact: Minister Andrews' office 02 6277 7070