From bettongs to koalas; and the Alps to Antarctica – you can join these Superstars of STEM

Science & Technology Australia is offering another 60 places in their Superstars of STEM program.

They are looking for passionate and articulate women to become role models and advocates for their science.

Over five years, the program will equip 150 female scientists and technologists with advanced communication skills and provided them with genuine opportunities to use these skills – in the media, on the stage and in speaking with decision makers.

Applications for the next group of Superstars are open now until 23 September.

Apply now, or read on to learn more about the current Superstars of STEM working in ecology, zoology, and conservation.

Dr. Tamara Keeley is a zoologist and Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the University of Queensland, specialising in Endocrinology, Reproductive Biology and Wildlife Conservation.

She specialises in non-invasive hormone analysis techniques (eg. urine and feces) to improve captive animal management and breeding and to elucidate the basic reproductive biology of a wide range of exotic and Australian species including the Tasmanian devil, Vancouver Island marmot and dugong.

Tamara's current research involves using artificial insemination in the koala, in combination with in-depth analyses of wild and captive koala population genetics to develop a 'Living Koala Genome Bank'. This bank will provide practical mechanisms to improve and manage the genetic diversity and breeding of captive and wild koala populations.

Dr Celine Frere is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).

She is currently curator of genetic data for the Shark Bay Dolphin Research Project (WA), leads research on koala health and distribution that is informing conservation strategies for local and state government (NSW & QLD), and spearheads her own longitudinal study of eastern water dragons in Brisbane's CBD.

In 2015, Dr Frere established USC's Detection Dogs for Conservation Initiative, which trains and uses sniffer dogs to assist research on endangered and protected species.

Dr Kate Umbers is a Lecturer in Zoology at the Western Sydney University and is a champion of the Australian Alps. Her research showcases the charismatic fauna of our high-country both in conservation projects and by discovering and communicating the inspiring natural history stories of the animals that live there.

Her pioneering, fundamental research is critical to making informed decisions about how to manage our threatened alpine ecosystem into the future.

Dr Kate Grarock is the Sanctuary Ecologist with the Woodlands and Wetlands Trust at Mulligans Flat Woodlands Sanctuary in Canberra. Kate works on research and restoration of critically endangered grassy woodlands. This work includes reintroducing locally extinct species, such as the Eastern Bettong.

Kate has developed a highly successful education program that focuses on sharing science with policy makers, local community, early career researchers and students from preschool to university. Integral to the success of this program is using 'real-life' scientists to deliver education activities.

Dr Jess Melbourne-Thomas is a Research Scientist with the Australian Antarctic Division and a Project Leader with the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre.

In her work, she uses mathematical models of marine ecosystems to understand how these systems function and how they might respond to climate change and other human activities