Do you think you might be one of our next Superstars of STEM?
The Superstars of STEM program advances gender equity in science, technology, engineering, and maths. Superstars receive advanced communications training to build a strong media and public profile, be a role model for the next generations, and supercharge their career. A strong desire to build a media profile is key – the program exists to create a growing cohort of highly visible diverse role models in the media of people who are experts and leaders in STEM. The program is open to women and non-binary people in STEM.
The program runs for two calendar years with 60 participants in each group of Superstars, identified in a comprehensive competitive selection process. As well as receiving training, the participants are paired with a high-profile mentor, supported to use their new skills to raise their public profile, and visit schools to inspire the next generation.
The current program concludes in December 2022. The next program will run from January 2023-December 2024.
- First round applications open: Wednesday 20 July 2022
- Applications Close: Monday 15 August 2022
- New cohort announced in December 2022
Current Superstars of STEM are offering three Q&A sessions by zoom during the application period. If you have questions about the application process or what it's like to be in the Superstars of STEM program, join on one of the following dates to get some answers from those who've been there!
Thursday August 4 (3:30-4:30pm AEST)
Tuesday August 9 (12:30-1:30pm AEST)
Wednesday August 10 (12-1pm AEST)
To get a zoom link email email@example.com or DM @StephGGardner on Twitter.
Applicants must be women or non-binary people employed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) roles at any career stage in any sector. Applicants must be Australian Citizens, Permanent Residents or New Zealand Special Category Visa Holders and meet one of the following criteria:
- Hold a PhD or higher or;
- An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person with an undergraduate STEM degree and at least 4 years STEM industry experience (this experience can have been gained concurrently with study); or
- A person with an undergraduate STEM degree and at least 4 years’ experience working in information technology, engineering, mathematics, agriculture, environmental science, geological sciences or science communication.
- Someone with more than 10 years of experience working in STEM and who has deep expertise in their STEM field.
- A commitment to the two-year Superstars of STEM Program, including the training, practice, networking, and mentoring components; and a commitment to participate where possible in opportunities provided to alumni participants throughout the life of the Superstars program
- A natural aptitude for oral and written communication
- A strong commitment to build a public and professional profile and in communicating with public audiences through the media, speaking engagements, social media, and written materials
- A commitment to being mentored
- A commitment to becoming a long-term role model for children and young people thinking of entering the STEM sector – especially young women and non-binary people
- Willing to organise to speak at least three and up to five high schools, with support from the program
Read the statement of expectations for participants for more information.
Participants will be selected to ensure geographic and discipline diversity in the program as well as representation from all career stages and a range of sectors, including public, private, and academic.
Current experience in the media is not required: we are looking for people who have a strong aptitude for communication and a very strong desire to build a media and public profile.
We strongly encourage applications from First Nations people, people with disability, people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, STEM professionals of all ages and career stages and LGBQTIA+ people.
Your role as a Superstar of STEM will require you to commit, on average, two days a month to training, events, and taking full advantage of opportunities to build your public profile. As a participant, you will need to:
- Proactively seek to build your public and media profile by seeking opportunities
- Attend all scheduled workshops and training sessions
- Visit 3-5 high schools, including one rural or remote school, either in-person or virtually. You are expected to arrange these visits yourself using the guidelines provided.
- Participate in media and speaking opportunities generated by Science & Technology Australia (STA) and use the skills learned to generate your own.
- Leverage your relationship with your mentor.
- Represent the Superstars of STEM program in a professional and positive manner when participating in networking, media or speaking opportunities etc.
- Adhere to the requirements of the STA Code of Conduct
- Behave in a way that positively influences group morale and is supportive of other participants. Concerns should be raised directly with the Program Manager or CEO.
- Be inclusive and respectful towards others including fellow participants, STA staff and program facilitators at all times.
- Provide feedback through evaluation surveys at six monthly increments throughout the program and one 12 months post program. These are designed to track participants’ progress throughout the program and are used to continually improve the program design.
Note: Feedback is welcomed; however, it is expected that it is constructive and provided in a professional and respectful manner.
- Be open to feedback, new learning, and experiences.
- Advise STA should you be unable to participate at any time during the program.
- Keep STA updated of any changes to your circumstances, including change of job title, role and any developments that may be newsworthy.
The application process has two stages. For stage one, you are required to complete the application form, including the submission of a one-minute video. You can access the application form using the link to the left. A Word version of the application form to help prepare your answers is also available for download from the application form page. Please also read the instructions for creating your video below.
If you are shortlisted, you will need to submit some additional information, provide evidence of support from your employer, and do a brief interview by videoconference. We anticipate the stage two application round will occur in October - November 2022.
We also recommend that you read the statement of expectations for participants before applying. Answers to some of your questions might be found on our FAQs page.
One-minute audition video:
Prepare a one-minute audition video filmed on your own handheld device (smartphone, tablet or similar). Please note that we are testing for screen presence rather than production values. We strongly encourage you NOT to use a professional production crew. Please either film yourself ‘selfie-style’ or enlist the help of a friend to hold the device. Your video must be one continuous shot with no editing or production. We need to see your facial expressions, so your head and shoulders should be in frame.
The topic is: your elevator pitch.
What is an elevator pitch?
It’s the one-minute speech that summarizes who you are and what you do. Please do NOT use the video to explain why you think you should be selected for the program.
Your elevator pitch should stand alone without requiring an introduction, prior knowledge about you, or on-screen graphics. You should pitch your video as if it would be viewed and understood by a 14-year-old.
How will it be judged?
We are looking for confident, articulate, creative and expressive pitches that show you are able to convey information in a concise fashion to a general audience. We want to see your personality and get a sense of your oral communication style. We’ll also be checking to make sure you can stick to one minute.
How to submit your video
Videos must be uploaded to YouTube and the link included in the application form. Please ensure your video has been uploaded to YouTube as 'unlisted'. DO NOT upload your video as 'private' – we will not be able to access it.
Please follow these instructions to upload your video:
- Log onto www.youtube.com
- If you don’t have an account, create a new account
- Upload your video
- During the upload process, select ‘unlisted’ as your preference under visibility
- Include the link to your video in your application form.
It is important you, and your employer, understand the time commitment when applying. We encourage employers to support participants to commit to the equivalent of approximately two days per month over the two-year duration of the program, during their normal work hours. The time commitment will differ from month to month. This includes in-person and online training sessions, networking, school visits, mentoring, media and speaking opportunities, social media and progress reporting. Participants may choose to dedicate additional time to the program and to developing their media and public profile.
Participants will receive advanced communication training delivered in a combination of in-person and online training modules. The content will include overcoming imposter syndrome, communicating with influence, finding your platform on social media, writing for The Conversation, media training, public speaking, and school visit training. Participants also have the opportunity to attend Science meets Parliament once during the program including the full professional development and training opportunities that it provides.
In the 2023-24 program, the following places will be available to successful participants:
- At least 40 fee paying places, $2,800+GST per person (50% due upon acceptance of place (mid December 2022) and remainder due 30 January 2023).
- Up to 20 scholarship places, available to participants who are able to demonstrate financial need and meet strict eligibility criteria. Please see more information below.
As a partial cost recovery mechanism, there is a $50 application fee. Please note we have a deep commitment to inclusion and this fee is not intended to dissuade applicants. To have the application fee waived, please just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What's included for successful applicants:
- Advanced communication training delivered through a series of in-person and online sessions.
- 1:1 coaching session with a career strategist
- Domestic air travel and accommodation from your nearest residential capital city to attend up to three scheduled training and/or networking events during the program.
- Two years of support from specialised STA staff, including support to generate media and speaking opportunities
- Invitations to networking opportunities with industry, government, and sector leaders, media, and Superstars of STEM Alumni.
- Support to connect with an appropriate senior mentor
- A network of like-minded supportive peers with an online platform to engage
- STA will work to identify and make available other opportunities during the life of the program
- Discounted registration to Science meets Parliament (once during two-year program)
For every program, there will be some out-of-pocket expenses associated for participants or their employers including local travel, ground costs, some meals, incidentals, and parking.
Science & Technology Australia is offering 20 scholarship places for applicants who meet the program selection criteria and prerequisites and are;
- Able to demonstrate inability to pay
- Representative of a minority group i.e. First Nations, LGBTQIA+, ESL, person with a disability, OR;
- Working and living in remote or regional Australia, OR;
- Employed by a start-up that is no more than two years old, OR;
- Within two years of establishing your own business.
How to apply:
- Write a cover letter. No more than one-page outlining:
- How you meet the financial criteria outlined in Part A.
- How you meet the scholarship criteria outlined in Part B.
- Complete the Superstars of STEM online application form, including uploading your cover letter.
- Pay the $50 application fee. You can have the application fee waived by emailing email@example.com
At the conclusion of the program, it is expected that participants will continue to grow their media and public profile using the tools and networks that the program has provided. Participants will be encouraged to continue their mentoring relationships. STA will continue to provide opportunities for alumni such as ad hoc speaking and media opportunities where available.