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Perth hosts forum to inspire the next generation of female researchers

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Hundreds of budding female scientists from secondary schools across Western Australia will be given a glimpse into their future careers as part of the first Girls in Science Forum to be held in Perth this week.

Co-hosted by Curtin University, the Telethon Kids Institute and L’Oreal Australia, the fully-booked event will give high school students rare access to some of Australia’s finest female scientists, the five L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellows, including two Perth-based researchers Curtin’s Dr Katarina Miljkovic and Associate Professor Asha Bowen from the Telethon Kids Institute.

Dr Miljkovic, who leads the only Australian research group working on the current NASA InSight mission to Mars, and Associate Professor Bowen, whose work aims to end skin disease for Indigenous children, will join the other L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellows, The University of Melbourne’s Dr Airlie Chapman, the University of Queensland’s Dr Kirsty Short and Dr Stefanie Zollmann, from the University of Otago.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said she was delighted to be co-hosting the Girls in Science Forum and personally welcome the 300 female high school students to the University.

“Curtin is honoured to co-host the first Girls in Science Forum to be held in Perth, because it presents an exciting opportunity for the next generation of female scientists and leaders in STEM to fine-tune and further develop their passion for science,” Professor Terry said.

“These students will hear from the very finest female scientists and professional role models Australia has to offer – including Curtin’s Dr Katarina Miljkovic, a leading planetary scientist whose current research centres on the Red Planet, and the other equally esteemed L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellows.”

Telethon Kids Institute Director Professor Jonathan Carapetis said the Institute was proud to be partnering with Curtin University and L’Oreal Australia to help educate and inspire the next generation of women in science.

“The Telethon Kids Institute is committed to being champions of gender equity, diversity and inclusivity,” Professor Carapetis said.

“This is a commitment we are proud of and hope will pave the way for greater opportunities for women in science, particularly in senior positions.”

The school students attending the forum are drawn from 31 metropolitan secondary schools as well as Karratha Senior High School.

The Girls in Science Forum, which is at full capacity, will be held at Curtin University’s Perth Campus on Wednesday, April 3, from 10am to 2.30pm.

On Thursday, April 4, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellows will also hold a forum for Early Career Researchers and Higher Degree Research candidates at Curtin 139 St Georges Terrace. More details are here.

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