Yesterday, Professor Joan Leach, President of Australian Science Communicators (ASC), awarded the 2015 Unsung Hero of Australian Science Communication.
ASC created the Unsung Hero award to honour a person or group who exemplifies science communication and who has not yet received significant recognition for their contributions.
Kylie Walker was recognised as the 2015 winner for her significant contributions to science communication and outreach.
As the Director of Communications and Outreach at the Australian Academy of Science, Kylie’s commitment and mentoring has been instrumental in changing the culture of one of Australia’s leading science organisations. Her work has helped many Australian scientists value public engagement and a media-savvy approach.
Kylie works to showcase excellence in Australian science and creates opportunities to highlight local achievements, including ensuring the media can access some of Australia’s best and brightest scientists. Of particular note is Kylie’s work in building national partnerships with other leading science and science communication organisations, helping enhance the effectiveness and scope of Academy programs.
Outside of her formal role with the Academy, Kylie has chaired the National Science Week Coordinating Committee in the ACT (tripling attendance rates between 2011 and 2013), and works with the Australian National University Centre for the Public Awareness of Science to present to and mentor science communication students.
Much of Kylie’s influence is behind the scenes. She empowers scientists to present their work in interesting and engaging ways, by developing presentation materials for high profile events, training scientists for media liaison and government advocacy and mentoring those new to science communication.
Kylie’s innovative thinking has been instrumental in expanding the reach and impact of the Academy’s science, taking the Academy to new and unusual settings, including social media, livestreaming and national television through National Press Club addresses and the ABC’s Q&A program.
Kylie works to actively address issues facing the science and science communication communities, such as gender equality, by creating events and communication channels that increase the focus on female scientists.
Kylie demonstrates an outstanding commitment to introducing scientists to the benefits of science communication. She works tirelessly, without personal or formal recognition, to support emerging science communication talent. Through her leadership and creative approach, she promotes excellence and innovation in science communication.