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Indigenous women forge pathways in science

An environmental scientist and Aboriginal woman from Gaamilaraay Nation has been named the winner of the 2020 Queensland Women in STEM Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Jury Award, presented in partnership with BHP Foundation. 

The Awards recognise Queensland women who make an outstanding contribution in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The winner, Toni Hay, is a Climate Advisor who has been developing community climate change adaptation programs to address the risk associated with our changing climate. Her work has improved Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's knowledge of climate adaptation and increased awareness in adaptation actions.

Toni is committed to advising how Indigenous Knowledge can and should be utilised across every part of the adaptation process.

'There is no reason why Indigenous people can not be included in the planning and implementation of community adaptation plans,’ she said.

The Award was presented by BHP Foundation Program Director Brodie Vansleve who said Toni represented remarkable Indigenous women who continued to forge their own pathways in science.

‘Across the world and for generations, Indigenous women have and continue to play a crucial role in growing and maintaining the knowledge of Indigenous science, technology, engineering and maths,’ said Brodie.

‘Today by recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in STEM we’re celebrating not just individual triumph, but more than 60,000 years of history, achievement and survival.

‘It’s wonderful to recognise the talent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and see them putting their voice and experience of STEM front and centre.’

Six Queensland scientists were nominated for the Awards across a wide-ranging field of scientific research.

Each winner receives $5,000 prize money for professional development and research thanks to the generous support of the Queensland Museum Network, Queensland Government and the BHP Foundation.

Read more about BHP Foundation’s programs in Australia.