ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology

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18, Nov 2022

She’s a superstar of STEM

Dr Taylor Szyszka from the University of Sydney node has been announced as one of Australia’s newest Superstars of STEM. 

Dr Szyszka is one of 60 diverse brilliant scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians who want to step into the media spotlight as STEM experts. 

The Minister for Industry and Science, Ed Husic MP, congratulated the newest Superstars of STEM on stepping into the public arena to help inspire the next generations of diverse young Australians into STEM. 

‘The need to boost diversity in our science, technology, engineering and mathematics sector is urgent,” he says. 

‘There are huge skills shortages that can be addressed if we put our minds and collective effort to it – which means we have to draw deeply on our nation’s expertise from all corners of the community.” 

Science & Technology Australia Chief Executive Officer Misha Schubert says the program gives women and non-binary talent in STEM crucial skills and confidence to step into expert commentary roles in the media. 

‘We know it’s really hard to be what you can’t see,’ she says. ‘That’s why this game-changing program is helping to smash stereotypes of what a scientist, technologist, engineer or mathematician looks like.’ 

‘By becoming highly visible role models in the media, these Superstars of STEM are showing our diverse next generations of young people – especially our girls and non-binary kids – that STEM is for them.’ 

“I am just so thrilled to have been selected for Superstars of STEM!’ says Dr Szyszka. ‘I hope to use the training and opportunities I get from this program to not only raise my own profile, but the profile of Synthetic Biology in Australia at large.’ 

Within the CoESB, Dr Szyszka works on a family of protein nanocompartments called encapsulins. ‘My main project is engineering encapsulins to create a synthetic organelle to improve photosynthesis in crop plants,’ she says. 

‘Outside of my research, I am heavily involved in outreach and science communication. Over the past several months, I have been working with the CoESB Outreach Working Party to create an interactive SynBio game for National Science Week, a card game, and a CoESB podcast series.’