Alison Peel was recently selected to participate in the "Catch a Rising Star: Women in Science in Regional Queensland" program, an Inspiring Australia initiative supported by the Australian Government as part of National Science Week (13 - 21 August in 2016).
The program, co-organised by Dr Maggie Hardy (@DrMaggieHardy) and Dr Mathilde Desselle (@mathildesselle), aims to increase the visibility of women researchers in Queensland by connecting them with community groups and schools in regional towns so they can talk about education and careers in science. Alison was one of four early or mid-career woman scientists to be selected from Griffith University, including Associate Professor Kathy Andrews, Lynn Nazareth and Johana Tello Velasquez, all from the Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery.
Alison travelled to Darling Heights State School in Toowoomba with Chemistry PhD student, Vanessa Lussini to talk with primary school students about what it means to be a scientist, the path they took to arrive in their current positions, and the exciting research they are undertaking at the Environmental Futures Research Institute and QUT, respectively. The school is incredibly diverse, with more than half of their 650 students having English as a second language, and around 100 different languages spoken at the school.
Alison demonstrated how infectious diseases can spread through populations and how vaccinations can prevent epidemics with a fun game about "The standing disease", and Vanessa demonstrated how rockets can 'reach for the stars' with vinegar and bicarbonate soda rockets!
A book is being prepared for print and online publication, to be distributed to schools across the country, containing ‘letters to our teenage selves’ from each scientist and a science experiment related to their work.
More information on the brilliant work done by Maggie Hardy, Mathilde Desselle and all the other #QLDstars participants can be found here