• Corey Tutt. (Corey Tutt)Source: Corey Tutt
It's Science Week, and this Kamilaroi man is out to show young First Nations kids the long history of Blak achievement in the field.
NITV Staff Writer

20 Aug 2021 - 5:57 PM  UPDATED 20 Aug 2021 - 5:57 PM

Science week is always an exciting time of year for Corey Tutt. Even COVID-19 restrictions haven't completely ruined the fun. 

"We've been able to do a lot of events virtually due to the current outbreak," he tells NITV. 

"(It's) been a little bit disappointing. But for me, it's a great opportunity, because a lot of kids, they're inspired by Deadly Science."

Deadly Science is a charity that provides science resources, mentoring and training to remote and regional schools across Australia, with a focus on First Nations communities.


Tutt is its founder and chief executive.

"I want to show that the kids that look up to Deadly Science, and look up to me... that it is possible, that you can you can achieve these things if you try hard, and staying in school gives you a really good advantage to try to do these things."

Tutt is a model of such achievement: he's the 2021 Sydney Science Festival Ambassador, the 2020 NSW Young Australian of the Year, and was named a Human Rights Hero by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

As a proud Kamilaroi man, he sees his successes in the field within a much larger context. 

"Our people are the first scientists. We're the first forensic scientists, we're the first chemists.

"And we're still ding this stuff today... Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's contribution to science is not a past tense thing. It's also a present day thing."

His passion is evident (and also explains his achievements at age 29): presenting young First Nations kids with a model of what they can be drives him. 

"You can't be what you can't see," he says. 

"Kids need really good mentors... (then) they might be the only person in their family to take that path, but it's important that they inspire the next generation, and that's what I want to do with Deadly Science."

Tutt has been busy in lockdown sending educational resources to kids stuck at home in NSW's lockdown. It's something he did during the Black Summer bushfires, and again during Melbourne's long lockdown last year. 

"I've seen young kids go without books, when they've lost everything.

"And now currently... we've got 100 packs of 15 books each for the (Blak) families in Redfern and Waterloo, and Walgett as well.

"I've had half a tonne of books!" he laughs. 

He's got a book of his own coming out in October with publishers Hardie Grant, called "First Scientists". It's a topic close to his heart. 

"I really wanted to stop sending books with Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison... They're great sciences, but they get a bit boring!

"We often see white middle aged men in white lab coats... and my grandfather was... one of the best real world scientists I ever met. He instilled in me in a young age the importance of reading, even though he didn't get the opportunity to read himself."

With the publication of the book, and with the care packages going out to First Nations families across the state right now; indeed, with all of his actions, Tutt wants to show young First Nations people they have the chance to succeed. 

"I'm sure it's helping to make sure they believe that they can, because I'm really passionate about giving kids the opportunities and the ability to learn, and understand how to build opportunities, and to find that passion."

Take It Blak podcast - EPISODE 23 STEM with Corey Tutt

In this episode of the Take It Blak podcast, NITV's Science & Technology Editor Rae Johnston has your monthly hit of the latest STEM news and interviews, looking at the intersection of traditional knowledge and modern science, and speaking to industry leaders. 

This month: what TikTok is doing for users with epilepsy, Twitter reveals the top #BlakTwitter users from #NAIDOC2020, the portable labs aiming to close the digital divide, the science behind meditation apps, and we explore the galaxy with no dark matter. 

Plus, when Deadly Science's Corey Tutt was told by teachers he wasn't smart enough to pursue a career in science. He opens up about how and why he did it anyway.