Inspiring the next generation of female scientists

High school student Charlie, future STEM superstar, pays honour to her hero, Prof Laura Mackay (Dept of Microbiology & Immunology located at the Doherty Institute).

Meet Charlie, high school student in NSW, passionate about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and a fervent advocate for equal access to and participation in science for girls and women.

To celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11 February), the Doherty Institute put the spotlight on Charlie who inspired many with her short film about her “STEM hero”, Professor Laura Mackay, internationally renowned immunologist and Lab Head in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology located at the Doherty Institute.

Charlie’s short film won the She Did What? competition run by The Girls in Stem Toolkit (The GiST), celebrating the achievements of Australian women in STEM.

Professor Mackay said she was incredibly humbled to be featured by Charlie as a “STEM hero”.

I am grateful to have been inspired and mentored by brilliant female colleagues throughout my career and am proud to now have the opportunity to serve as a role model to the next generation of young scientists.

“It is incredibly fulfilling to see young students with passion for STEM like Charlie, and who give us great optimism for the future of scientific discovery.”

The Doherty Institute interviewed Charlie to find out more about how she fell in love with science and what she thinks could be done to encourage more girls and women to step into careers in STEM.

Read the full interview here.

Are there any female scientists or figures who inspire you, and why do they resonate with you?

"There have been many female role models in my life, many of which worked in STEM-related jobs. Two of them are my science teachers from last year, both female and both amazing. They encouraged me to learn about stuff that interests me, and they had a positive approach to everything. Some of other figures in my life who have inspired me are my mum, my family friend Leeanne (who works in cancer research), and of course, Professor Laura Mackay."

Can you tell us more about how Professor Mackay has inspired you for this video?

"When I found Professor Mackay's profile on the Doherty Institute website, I was fascinated by her research and her goals of creating a new treatment for cancer and other diseases. With further research, I discovered how intelligent and passionate Laura was about her research. During the making of this video, I never seemed to lack inspiration from her work and achievements. Her determination has inspired me to make this video and probably make many more in the future. Not only did she encourage me to give my best in STEM, but also in every other subject and project I love."

This article was originally published by the Doherty Institute on 9 February 2024.

Read the original article here

About Prof Laura Mackay

The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection & Immunity (Doherty Institute) is a joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital.