Exploring big questions and coming up with big ideas to solve some of life's big problems are at the heart of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). As part of National Science Week, we're hosting STEM in Schools, with schools across Australia joining us in a virtual classroom forum with a panel of Australians working in the space industry.

The panel will be sharing their work investigating tricky questions and solving problems related to all things space - think mission control, lasers, telescopes and space junk.

The virtual classroom will be held for pre-registered schools across Australia at 11.30am AEST on Friday, 18 August 2017. As part of the forum students will be able to ask the panel questions and learn about STEM careers, particularly in the space industry. Following the virtual classroom, schools are able to conduct classroom activities and many schools will host CSIRO STEM professionals and Federal MP's for the day.

Forum panellists and emcee


Dr Kimberley Clayfield.

Dr Kimberley Clayfield

Dr Kimberley Clayfield
Executive Manager Space Sciences and Technology, CSIRO

Dr Kimberley Clayfield is Executive Manager Space Sciences and Technology within CSIRO. With a professional background in both mechanical engineering and space policy, she provides space policy advice to CSIRO Executive Management, represents CSIRO in Australian Government and international space forums, and supports the implementation of new space-related activities across CSIRO—for example, establishing a new million-dollar Earth observation program within CSIRO in 2012. Since April 2017, she has also been seconded part-time to the Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC), where she is Program Leader of the new High Altitude Sensor Systems Program. This program will support Australian industry to develop new sensing and data processing technologies for small unmanned aerial systems and small satellites.

In 2014-15 Kimberley was also the CSIRO SKA Consortium Officer, managing CSIRO’s administrative obligations as lead organisation of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Dish Consortium, the largest of the 11 international consortia responsible for designing the world’s biggest radio-telescope.

Ms Solange Cunin.

Ms Solange Cunin

Ms Solange Cunin
Co-Founder and CEO, Cuberider

Solange Cunin is a 24-year-old, self-confessed space geek who grew up ‘off the grid’ on her parents’ farm in northern NSW. She was given her first telescope at the age of eight and convinced everyone around her that she would become an aerospace engineer.

Solange studied a Bachelors in Mathematics and Aerospace Engineering at University of New South Wales. In 2015, she founded Cuberider, a leader in innovative STEM education, which brings access to space down into the classroom.

Prof Paulo de Souza Junior

Prof Paulo de Souza Junior

Prof Paulo de Souza Junior
OCE Science Leader, Data61 | CSIRO

Dr Paulo de Souza is an internationally recognised and awarded researcher and research manager in fields of geochemistry, sensors, sensor networks, and ICT. He has 20 years of experience in industry and research organisations; more than 200 peer-review publications, three patents and four books published, and successful track record in business development and commercialisation of research products.

Paulo was a collaborating scientist on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission, which landed two large robots, Spirit and Opportunity, on the surface of Mars. He is now the leader of the Global Initiative for Honey bee Health, which equips bees with tiny microsensors, also known as backpacks, to monitor the bees’ movement and environment.

He has held senior positions in government agencies, universities and industry and is passionate about translating science into meaningful outcomes for government, business and the community.

Céline d’Orgeville.

Assoc Prof Céline d’Orgeville.

Assoc Prof Céline d’Orgeville
Instrument Scientist and Adaptive Optics Group Manager, ANU

Céline d’Orgeville is an Associate Professor and Instrument Scientist (Laser Physics) at the Australian National University. In 2012 she moved to Australia and joined the ANU RSAA instrumentation group to lead Laser Guide Star activities—on ground-based telescopes used for astronomy, satellite imaging, and laser tracking of space debris. Prior to moving to Australia, Céline worked at the Gemini Observatory where she led the design, fabrication and commissioning of the Laser Guide Star facilities in Hawaii and Chile.

Céline holds two Masters degrees, in Optics and Photonics (Paris XI University), and in Optical Engineering (Institut d’Optique Graduate School, Orsay, France). She has a particular interest in equity and diversity issues stemming from her professional and experience working in the astronomy community world-wide.

Image of Dr Jason Held

Dr Jason Held

Dr Jason Held
Founder and CEO, Saber Astronautics

Prior to founding Saber Astronautics, Dr Held was a US Army Major and team leader for USSTRATCOM and deployed internationally in support of military space missions. He was a lead instructor at the Interservice Space Fundamentals Course and an engineer at Army Space and Missile Command Battle Lab. He conducted flight software for the Wide Field Camera 3 of the Hubble Space Telescope and testing for the International Space Station. He also conducted testing for an invasive class II medical device. Dr Held guest lectured for the IRS Space Station Design Workshop, University of New South Wales, and International Space University. He led a research expedition in the high Canadian Arctic and co-founded several groups, such as the Delta-V SpaceHub Startup Accelerator and the University of Sydney space engineering laboratory.


Ms Bernie Hobbs

Bernie Hobbs is best known as a popular judge from ABC TV's The New Inventors, and she's a firm favourite with audiences for her weekly science spots on ABC radio around the country.

Bernie has that rare combination of a sharp intellect, quick wit and warmth. With a background in medical research, environmental writing and science teaching, Bernie can tackle tough or technical subjects and bring the driest topics alive for lay or expert audiences.

She's worked with kids, animals and rocket scientists, and shared the stage with prime ministers and rock stars. She happily takes the hot seat at triple j when Dr Karl can't, and loves nothing more than working with a live audience.

Bernie has won awards for the kids TV show the experiMENTALS, and for her infamous greenhouse website Planet Slayer - where you find out what age you should have died at so you don't use more than your share of the planet.

She has a first class honours degree in biochemistry and microbiology, a very nerdy habit of birdwatching, and more than a passing interest in cycling, kayaking and ridding her backyard of asthma weed.

She's MC'd and chaired her way through forums and events for clients including: Prime Minister's Prizes for Science, the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia, a swathe of CRCs, GHD, Queerscreen, the Queensland Government, The Queensland Resources Council, CSIRO, The Australian Society of Medical Research, The Australian Fodder Industry Association, Brisbane Ideas Festival, The World Congress of Science Journalists, Questacon.

Ms Bernie Hobbs appears by arrangement with Claxton Speakers International.

Information for participating schools

Registration for STEM in Schools 2017 has now closed.

For pre-registered schools who are participating in the event, please find more information about the STEM in Schools virtual classroom and classroom activities below and on our frequently asked questions page. If you still have questions after visiting this page, please contact STEMinSchools@csiro.au.

Virtual Classroom

The STEM in Schools virtual classroom will be a one-hour live panel forum held for registered schools across Australia on the GoToWebinar platform. All registered schools will receive a link to enrol in the virtual classroom via email before the event.

The virtual classroom will give your students an opportunity to ask the panel of space professionals about their work. Submission of student questions closed on Friday 11 August. Please note that while we will try to get to as many of the submitted student questions as possible, we are not able to guarantee your school’s questions will be answered.

Please ensure you test your school's equipment and ability to connect to GoToWebinar before the event to ensure you are able to access the virtual classroom. The virtual classroom will be recorded and placed on this page after the event.

If you are experiencing any difficulties accessing our Virtual Classroom, or if your student's questions were not answered on the day, we have compiled a list of suggested videos and resources the showcase inspiring science and scientists from the Australian and International space industry. A recording of the Virtual Classroom panel discussion will also be available after the event.

Classroom activities

Below is a list of suggested classroom activities that your school can run after the STEM in Schools virtual classroom. Other activities can be designed by your school to suit the time and resources available, and can be very simple. If you have been matched with a STEM professional, please get in touch with them before the event to decide on a suitable activity and how they can help you deliver it. All participating schools will also receive two CSIRO Publishing books to provide inspiration for your activities ahead of the event.

Suggested STEM in Schools classroom activities include:

Your school might also consider running a classroom activity from the Australian Science Teachers Association teacher resource book for National Science Week 2017 [opens in new window]


GoToWebinar test session

Are your students keen to keep exploring space? Check out our list of videos and resources.

If you have any questions regarding the event, please contact STEMinSchools@csiro.au

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