2023 Careers Night

Hear from an array of people who might be able to answer the ‘What’s next?’ question that poses many of us. Featuring professionals across a range of careers and career stages, this event will address practical advice and tips for progressing your career.

This will be relevant for students looking to start their professional career in SciComm, as well as those who are well established in their career and/or potentially considering a future role change.

Hosted by ASC Vice President, Jen Martin, hear from:

  • Simon Torok
  • Sonya Pemberton
  • Rachel Nowak
  • Catriona Nguyen-Robertson
  • Belinda Smith

This session started with a panel discussion before jumping into an opportunity to chat directly to the speakers via breakout rooms (not recorded). This event was open to ASC members and non-members.

Speaker profiles

Belinda Smith

Belinda Smith became a science journalist after realising she wasn’t going to cut it as a scientist. Based in Melbourne, she’s currently a science reporter at the ABC. Her work appears on the ABC News website and has featured in the Best Australian Science Writing 2016 and 2018. You can also hear her talking about science on local radio and RN. In her spare time, Bel’s a GPS artist who runs routes in the shape of animals. Find her tweets @sciencebelinda and impressive GPS art on Insta @animalpunruns.

Catriona Nguyen-Robertson

Dr Catriona Nguyen-Robertson sings in the laboratory and contemplates immunology in the shower. She trained as an immunologist and is now an enthusiastic science communicator and educator. You can often catch her singing and dancing on social media and around Museums Victoria as a Learning Facilitator. She also works with the Science Communication Teaching Team (led by A/Prof. Jen Martin!) at The University of Melbourne, where she teaches the next generation of STEM researchers how to their work.

She is the Science Engagement Officer for the Royal Society of Victoria and regularly engages with science outreach programs, such as National Science Week, Skype a Scientist, Pint of Science, and BrainSTEM – sharing science online, on radio, and in schools across Australia and beyond. In addition to her work, Catriona is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in STEM, and received an Out for Australia 30 Under 30 Award in 2022.

Rachel Nowak

Dr Rachel Nowak is a consultant, an advisor, a scientist and a journalist. She has been working in science, technology and innovation on three continents. Her specialities include science journalism, knowledge mobilisation, research and technology assessment, and stakeholder engagement. She has been Washington Bureau Chief and Australasian Editor of New Scientist magazine. She was Director of Research Marketing and Communications at the University of Melbourne. She founded the social-good brain tech start-up The Brain Dialogue.

Rachel did her PhD in agricultural science at the University of Leeds. She studied writing, alongside poets and novelists, at The Johns Hopkins University.

Her award-winning science journalism has changed R&D and medical practice, and research law and policy around the world.

Rachel immigrated to Australia on a Distinguished Talent visa for her international record of outstanding achievements in science communication.

Simon Torok

Dr Simon Torok is CEO and Director of Scientell Pty Ltd, a science communication business specialising in environmental and climate change communication.

Simon distils technical information for non-scientific audiences to communicate the importance of science in our lives and its role in understanding the environment. Simon has a Graduate Diploma in Science Communication from the Australian National University, and completed a PhD in climate change science at the University of Melbourne. Simon has managed communication for CSIRO in Australia and for the Tyndall Centre in England. He was editor of the Helix and Scientriffic science magazines, and has published more than 200 newspaper, magazine and scientific journal articles. He has co-authored 20 popular science and climate change books, several of which have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Hungarian.

Sonya Pemberton

The incredibly creative Sonya Pemberton is one of Australia’s leading documentary filmmakers; an Emmy Award recipient and record-breaking five-time winner of the prestigious Eureka Prize for Science Journalism.

Did you know that Sonya’s passion is creating quality science documentaries for international audiences? Sonya has written, directed and produced over 70 hours of broadcast documentary, her films winning over 80 international awards. As a writer and director, her films include the critically acclaimed and multi-award-winning feature length specials ‘Cracking COVID’ (ABC), ‘VITAMANIA’ (SBS, ARTE, CuriosityStream) and ‘Jabbed: Love, Fear and Vaccines’ (SBS, ARTE) and ‘Vaccines-Calling the Shots’ (PBS NOVA). Her multi award-winning film ‘Catching Cancer’ (SBS, Nat Geo) was an expose of viruses causing cancer and her film ‘Immortal’ (SBS, Smithsonian), featuring the work of Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, won the 2012 Emmy award for Outstanding Science. Sonya has also executive-produced many award-winning factual series and one-off programs, including ‘Carbon- the unauthorised biography’ (ABC, CBC, ARTE), ‘Uranium: Twisting The Dragon’s Tail’ (SBS, PBS and ZDF/ARTE), and ‘CRUDE – the incredible journey of oil’ with Dr Richard Smith.

Previously Head of Specialist Factual at ABC Television, Sonya commissioned and managed over three hundred hours of factual television; her understanding of audiences’ desire for smart, accessible television saw ratings rise across the genres.Sonya has been honoured with Australian Health Journalist of the Year in 2011 and 2013, the 2014 Thornett Award for the Promotion of Reason, the Jill Robb Award in 2015, and in 2016 she received the Stanley Hawes Award for contribution to documentary.

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