STEM Ambassador provides catalyst for local science community

Designed to foster collaboration and connections between
Australian STEM professionals and Federal Parliamentarians, the STEM Ambassador
program has already catalysed some meaningful action.

Wills STEM community

For example, the science and technology community in
Melbourne’s electorate of Wills are mobilising to help inform policymaking in
Canberra. Candice Raeburn is the STEM Ambassador in Wills, and she has been
working to provide the local member, Peter Khalil MP, with better access to
scientific research, data and evidence.

Ms Raeburn says to achieve this, they have established the
STEM Wills Advisory Group (SWAG) which will see 10 STEM professionals meeting
quarterly to discuss issues relevant to their electorate and to the nation.

“Applications to join the group close this week, and we are
inviting anyone with a connection to Wills and science or technology to apply,”
she said.

“For example, with questions
around the health of the Murray River, the group can draw from their networks
or experience to provide our Parliamentarian with someone in that space who can
provide relevant advice or comment.

“We hope that this group will inspire other communities to
engage with their local Parliamentarian and work with them to enhance the role
of science and evidence in decision making.”

Candice draws from a range of roles in engineering,
neuroscience, microbiology, education and outreach in order to bring a rich
perspective to issues of policy.

“I studied applied science, so I have a particular
attraction to applying my skills in the real world,” she said.

“However, there are many people doing fundamental research
who are doing really important work too, so it’s important to have their voices
in the mix.”

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