When you think of scientists, visions of old men with grey hair dressed in white lab coats is normally what springs to mind.
However, for me, I have a far different connotation.
Long before I became a journalist, I was a budding science student studying the ins and outs of chemistry, but one day I realised I was never destined for the laboratory.
When I announced to a close group of friends that I would be leaving behind my dream of becoming a scientist and embarking on a new journey to become a journalist, I recall their shock.
Most of them had the belief that if women could succeed as scientists, as a male I should automatically be able to excel without even trying. But no, throughout my studies I had struggled to keep my head above water.
Regardless, I was fortunate to study alongside and was taught by what I consider to be inspirational women who were determined to defy the stereotype.
Now, as a journalist, I have been lucky to have met several female scientists who are passionate about engaging forthcoming generations within the world of science.
I was fortunate to study alongside and was taught by what I consider to be inspirational women who were determined to defy the stereotype.
During the Bendigo Advertiser’s coverage of National Science Week 2018, I met Dr Jessie Christiansen, an Australian-born NASA research scientist.
Dr Christiansen toured central Victoria talking about her role as an astrophysicist but, more importantly, acting as a role model for young women wanting to pursue a career in science.
Despite lacking a female role model as she was growing up, it is inspiring to know she has put herself into that position, showing young women that anything is possible.
I also met Dr Mary Nash, a central Victorian science teacher who was recently awarded for 45 years of service at the Department of Education and Training.
After nearly half a century of teaching, Dr Nash’s goal continues to be engaging the next generation of youth within STEM subjects.
And most recently I was excited to see Dr Cathy Foley appointed to the position of Chief Scientist at CSIRO.
Dr Foley has advocated for women in science for the last 30 years and will undoubtedly continue to promote the role of women in STEM.
I know the next generation’s view of a scientist will be a woman dressed in a white coat, uncovering the latest research and innovations that will shape our future.
Anthony Pinda is a Bendigo Advertiser journalist.
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