Since 2016, the CSIRO Indigenous STEM Awards have been highlighting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander STEM professionals, students, teachers and mentors.
This year's winners were announced at a special event in Melbourne on Tuesday. Over the next six weeks, additional local award ceremonies will involve and acknowledge the winners' local communities.
"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made, and continue to make, extraordinary contributions to our culture, the economy and science," said CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall.
"The achievements of our Indigenous STEM Award winners are excellent examples."
Kamilaroi man Bradley Moggridge took home the STEM Professional Career Achievement Award. Mr Moggridge's PhD research study at the University of Canberra is showing the value of water to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and how modern-day planning can accommodate these values.
Mr Moggridge has spent the last 20 years working in research, policy development, legislative reviews and project management specifically looking at water management. He hopes to encourage future generations to pursue interests in STEM, promote his ancestors' knowledge of water and mentor emerging Indigenous scientists.
Rikki Bruce and Josh Loyd both received the STEM Professional Early Career Award, Jamie Graham-Blair received the Tertiary Student STEM Achievement Award, and Corey Tutt took home the STEM Champion Award.
Alana Dooley and Tamia Blackwell were the joint recipients of the Secondary Student STEM Achievement Award.
Ms Dooley has aspirations to be an astrophysicist, while Ms Blackwell developed a workshop using traditional dance to teach children maths.
Thuringowa State High School in Townsville, where Indigenous knowledge is included in STEM lessons, was given the School Award for its Global Tropics Future project. In 2019, students from 40 rural schools took part in the project, where they were given real-world challenges to solve.
The Teacher Award went to Makhdoom Bhatti from Ntaria Community School, 150 km west of Alice Springs. Collaborating with Elders and local rangers, Mr Bhatti's teaching shares Indigenous STEM knowledge on a range of sciences from astronomy, botany, biology, medicine and geography, then contrasts it with Western perspectives.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Maths Award was shared by Shaylah Tighe-Holden and Taylah Duffin-Wenban, and the Student Science Award went to both Ruby Van Tongeren and Djai Hunter.
“Around three-quarters of all future jobs will need STEM and we’re absolutely committed to helping school students develop these skills so they can turn science into solutions that better shape Australia’s future," said CSIRO's Dr Marshall.
"We know that the achievements of the winners and finalists will inspire other students to become
innovators solving the big challenges that face our world."