ChemCentre's Superstar of STEM

ChemCentre's Superstar of STEM

11 Dec 2018

One of ChemCentre’s brightest minds, forensic scientist and mineralogist Dr Kari Pitts has been selected as a Superstar of STEM for 2019/2020.

At a ceremony in Canberra, Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews announced the latest Superstars of STEM line-up.

Kari is a reporting Chemist in the Physical Evidence team at ChemCentre’s forensic science laboratory. Her expertise is analysing remnants of everyday life left behind at crime scenes; paint, glass, gunshot residue, soils, fibres and textiles, and anything else that isn’t biological, a drug or radioactive. Kari has reported on more than 300 cases and given expert evidence in criminal trials in Australia and New Zealand.

She is passionate about her science, regularly volunteering her time and expertise for community engagement and science advocacy programs.

“I’m thrilled and excited to be part of a program which will help raise the profile of women in STEM and promote the vast array of possibilities open to them.”

ChemCentre CEO Peter McCafferty congratulated Kari and said he had no doubt she would make an excellent Superstar of STEM.

“Kari is not only an expert in her field of physical evidence forensic science and dedicated to finding the truth, she is passionate about chemistry and the need to inspire other women and girls to pursue similar STEM careers.”

Superstars of STEM, an initiative of Science & Technology Australia, Australia’s peak body in science and technology aims to smash society’s gender assumptions about scientists and increase the public visibility of women in STEM.

The program aims to create a critical mass of celebrity Australian female scientists and technologists as role models for young women and girls and to work towards equal representation in the media of women and men working in all fields in STEM.

Science & Technology Australia President, Professor Emma Johnston AO said the program was challenging the image of the stereotypical scientist as an old man in a white coat.

“Thanks to the first 30 Superstars this is starting to change, and with 60 more announced today we will be well on our way to permanently smashing the stererotype,” Professor Johnston said.

“We are extremely proud to have seen hundreds of capable, skilled, confident women apply for the program, and really look forward to sharing the stories of these impressive 60 Superstars with the world.”

Over five years the program will have equipped 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.

Read Kari's Superstars of STEM profile here.

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