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Changing the world through science

An impressive line-up of STEM talent, including teachers and the top school-aged researchers and innovators in the country have been honoured at the 2020 BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards. 

Now in their 39th year, the Awards help uncover and develop the next generation of innovators who want to tackle and solve the world’s big challenges.

Innovators like Nyheemah Cox, an Indigenous student from Coolgardie in Western Australia who received the Innovator to Market Award.

Nyheemah’s project sought to identify antimicrobial activity in three different bush plants, to test and validate their healing properties and to support their use in treating minor ailments in small communities who don’t have access to medical supplies.

‘I first came up with idea because I was fascinated with my Aboriginal community’s use of local plants for medicinal purposes,’ says Nyheemah. ‘I wanted to test and validate the healing properties of the plants so that I can further research and make my own medicines.’

It’s because she believes that through science, she can change the world.

‘With science you can make things, you can discover things and you can improve things.’

Watch Nyheemah talk about her project.

The Awards celebrate the diversity of STEM participation and achievement across Australia and recognise the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander STEM professionals, students and their teachers, schools and supporters.

Winners of the Indigenous STEM Awards include Thuringowa State High School near Townsville for its innovative STEM program, and teacher Makhdoom Bhatti from the Ntaria Community School in the Northern Territory for successfully integrating Indigenous and Western STEM into science classes.

2019 NT Young Achiever of the Year Rikki Bruce was also honoured, receiving an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander STEM Professional Early Career Award.

Six of the BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Award finalists will have the opportunity to showcase their research alongside students from 75 countries at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in the USA.

The BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards and the Indigenous STEM Awards are managed by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, in partnership with the BHP Foundation.

Read more about the BHP Science and Engineering Awards.

Read more about BHP Foundation’s commitment to STEM education.