Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment veterinarian andepidemiologist, Dr Rachel Iglesias has today been named one of Australia’sofficial Superstars of STEM.

Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Mark Schipp congratulated Rachel as one of 60brilliant women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics steppinginto the spotlight for this acclaimed national program.

“Rachel’s work as a Veterinary Officer in the Animal Health Epidemiology andOne Health team is important in the effective national surveillance andcontrol of animal diseases in Australia,” Dr Schipp said.

“Rachel is an everyday superstar working on surveillance for important animaldiseases to detect outbreaks and supporting export markets for animals andanimal products.

“This includes preparing for outbreaks of emergency animal diseases andmonitoring for animal disease incidents in other parts of the world that mightpose a risk to Australia.”

Head of Animal Biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture, Water and theEnvironment, Dr Robyn Martin, said Rachel was currently on secondment to theDepartment of Health gaining new knowledge and experiences and sharing herexpertise as part of the COVID-19 response.

“Rachel already works closely with our health colleagues to ensure we areaware of any incidents that could pose a risk to the health of wildlife,domestic animals or people, and has taken up an opportunity to do asecondment,” Dr Martin said.

“We look forward to welcoming her back when she returns to the department in2021.”

STEM Superstar, Dr Rachel Iglesias said she applied for the program to learnthe skills needed to communicate more directly with livestock producers andthe general public about the department’s science work.

“I’m excited about finding ways to invite our stakeholders to communicate withus about their priorities and interests,” Dr Iglesias said.

“I hope long term this means that we can serve them even more effectively.”

Science & Technology Australia Chief Executive Officer Misha Schubert said theprogram gave women in STEM stronger skills and confidence to step into expertcommentary roles in the media.

“It’s hard to be what you can’t see,” Ms Schubert said.

“Women are still seriously under-represented in STEM leadership roles.

“The Superstars of STEM program sets out to smash stereotypes of what ascientist, technologist, engineer or mathematician look like — these powerfulrole models show girls that STEM is for them.

“We can’t thank the Australian Government enough for its strong support ofthis important program, which is already having a profound impact.”

Fast Facts:

  • In 2019-20, 56% of girls in years 7 and 8 said they intended to choose a STEM elective when they reach year 9 and 10 – that’s up from 50% in 2018-19. That compares to 87% of boys said they planned to choose a STEM elective.
  • In 2019-20, 50% of girls in year 9 and 10 took at least 1 STEM subject – that’s up from 32% in 2018/19. That compares to 71% of boys.
  • At university, women account for 35% of STEM course enrolments and 37% of STEM course completions (on 2018 figures). That’s just over one in three.

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