Applications are now open for the 2020 intake of students to join the Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy. Eligibility criteria applies.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Students in Year 8 must be attending school in Perth WA, Western Sydney NSW or Central Coast NSW
  • Students in Year 11 can be attending high school anywhere in Australia
  • Students must by Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Students must be female or female-identifying
  • Students must be passing English, Maths and Science at school

To apply, download the application form [pdf · 1mb]


  • Please download and save the application – it cannot be completed online.
  • Complete all sections of the application form and sign.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: Applicants must attach their most recent school report to the application email.
  • Return the completed application to the Academy team at:
  • If you need help with your application, please email us or call +61 7 3833 5660.
  • The recruitment round has now been extended. Applications now close 5pm ADST on Friday 3 April 2020

The Young Indigenous Women’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academy launched its inaugural camps in Cairns and Townsville with 52 students travelling from across the Far North Queensland region to participate in a unique opportunity to challenge themselves and bring their STEM dreams to life.

In a usually male-dominated field, CSIRO and the Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy are breaking down stereotypes and leading the way for young Indigenous women to explore a future within STEM. The STEM Academy is designed to give the young women a supporting and culturally safe platform to begin a STEM career, from year 8 through to tertiary education.

Young Indigenous Women’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Academy camp.

Throughout the camp, the celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ ongoing contribution to STEM is showcased by ensuring Indigenous knowledges and traditional STEM methods are embedded into every learning opportunity.

Beginning in Cairns, the young women were welcomed by Gimuy Walubara Yidinji Elder Aunty Henrietta Marrie who shared parts of her fascinating life journey, before learning algebraic equations using cultural dance with Tamia Blackwell – who knew this could be possible? The young women were very inspired by Tamia and were positively engaged with mathematics.

Day 2 seen an early start for the young women on board the Dreamtime Magic Vessel for ecology, climate change and conservation; and innovation of coral reef science presentations by Indigenous Sea Rangers. The young women were excited to snorkel in the afternoon and learn of Indigenous connections to the Great Barrier Reef.

On to Day 3 of camp, with the introduction of learning journals, the young women participated in Health; Social, Emotional and Cultural Wellbeing; and Goal Setting workshops. Over the course of the program, the journals will be a living document and a key factor in the young women’s learning and development; as well as documenting and holding themselves accountable to short-term and long-term goals. To finish off the day, guest speaker Charmaine Saunders of Mainie Australia shared stories of how her passion for Aboriginal Art led to an interesting business venture in design and technology; inspiring the young women to understand how their strength in culture and passion for STEM can really take you anywhere.

As we got further into the week, the young women were joined by CSIRO’s Torres Webb and Gerry Turpin for a tour at the Australian Tropical Herbarium curated by Frank Zich. Frank shared recordings and documentation of traditional plant use; which gave the young women great insight before heading out to Djunbunji Ranger Base at Grey Peaks National Park. Welcomed by Rangers onto Mandingalbay Yidinji Country with a traditional smoking Ceremony, the young women were given a guided tour of the Mayi Bugan Trail, exploring more of traditional foods and medicines. The Rangers shared knowledge of Country and their traditional land management practices.

With CSIRO’s Mibu Fischer at camp for the week as an in-house STEM professional mentor, it was a perfect opportunity for the young women to hear from Mibu. Finishing off the night with a yarning circle, Mibu spoke about her current work connecting traditional knowledges with marine ecology; and having a passion for encouraging young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to explore education and employment in STEM.

To wrap up an exciting week of Culture and STEM for the Cairns Academy, we heard words of wisdom from Yirrganydji Elder Michelle Singleton before performances by Jajenji Aboriginal Dance Troupe and Gerib Sik Torres Strait Island Dance Troupe.

There was no rest for the wicked when Academy staff headed south to launch the YIWSA Townsville Camp. To open the week, the young women were welcomed by Aunty Jeanette Wyles and had a relaxing day getting to know each other with fun ice-breaker activities and an Academy Dinner at Fish Inn Rockpool.

Getting right into the STEM experiences on day two, with a panel consisting of Indigenous female STEM professionals – Aeronautical Engineer, Taylah Griffiths; Astronomer and Astrophysicist, Karlie Noon; and Nursing student, Chloe Sobieralski; the young women heard stories from these inspiring Indigenous women, understanding more of real-life STEM opportunities they have in front of them. This was followed a tour if the Origin Gas Facilities in Townsville, where the young women learned about energy, its production and storage; as well as the engineering and technology behind the scenes.

Day 3 was a huge highlight for a lot of the Academy participants, venturing out to the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) where we were hosted by Traceylee Forester and team. We toured the facility, checked out the ‘world’s smartest aquarium’, wave simulator; and heard from influential Indigenous and non-Indigenous STEM professionals. In the afternoon, Tamia Blackwell hosted her Mathematics Workshop for the Townsville Academy, connecting Traditional dance to writing mathematical equations.

Travelling to wonderful Mungalla Station in Ingham on Day 4. Chris Parry and Aramai Cassady graciously shared the history of Mungalla Station from pre-settlement to present, and their traditional land management practices.  We toured the station and to hear of the scientific research that is happening across the site with CSIRO. The young women also tried their hand at boomerang throwing to finish on the day.

Finishing things up in Townsville, we celebrated these young women with a special ceremony to congratulate their efforts throughout the week and the near future. We concluded the week with guest speaker Bindal Elder, Aunty Jeanette Wyles sharing her story. The Townsville Academy camp brought so many new experiences and learning for these young women.

To apply, download the application form [pdf · 1mb]

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