Star-gazing Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith named the first Women in STEM Ambassador

She’s an award-winning astrophysicist, a presenter on ABC’s Stargazing Live, an in-demand public speaker, and now Western Sydney University Adjunct Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith has been named Australia’s first Women in STEM Ambassador.

Professor Harvey-Smith’s appointment will provide a platform to foster home-grown scientists, specifically girls and women, and encourage participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

"I am delighted to have been appointed as Australia's first Women in STEM Ambassador. The creation of this role is an important recognition of the challenges we face as a nation, moving towards a new economy. In order to meet these challenges head-on, we need to harness our best talent and retain the most capable STEM professionals in high-skilled jobs.

"I relish the challenge of this new role and look forward to working with STEM and educational professionals from across the sector to make a different to the future economic health of Australia," said Professor Harvey-Smith.

Born in Essex, England, Professor Harvey-Smith left school at the age of 11 and taught herself at home, developing a great passion for astronomy. She joined her local amateur astronomical society in 1992, where she first learned to use a telescope.

Professor Harvey-Smith earned a Masters degree in Physics with Honours in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and a PhD in Radio Astronomy from Jodrell Bank Observatory at the University of Manchester, before embarking on a professional career in astronomy.

A two-month research project at the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany was followed by a two-year project at The Joint Institute for Very Long Baseline Interferometry in Europe (JIVE) in the Netherlands. After this, she moved to Australia, where she has been based for more than a decade.

Professor Harvey-Smith has spent much of her career working to maintain and develop professional astronomical observatories. She currently leads a group of 30 scientists at Australia's radio telescope national facility and became Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University in January 2018.

ENDS

16 October, 2018

Media Unit