Women on Mars: a special event for female high school students

Mars, the red planet


Friday, 18 August, 2017 -
09:30 to 14:30


Sydney Opera House Concert Hall northern foyer

Type of event: 

Special Event

As part of National Science Week and the Sydney Science Festival, UNSW Science will host a special event - Women on Mars - for female high school students at the Sydney Opera House on Friday 18 August.

During the free event, students will participate in some exciting scientific activities and hear from leading scientists including Dr Abigail Allwood from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Dr Allwood is the first Australian, as well as the first woman, to lead a team at NASA, and she has designed an instrument for NASA’s rover that will land on Mars in 2020.

Other speakers include:

Professor Emma Johnston: UNSW Dean of Science and a leading marine ecologist whose research is carried out in diverse environments including the Great Barrier Reef, Antarctica and Sydney Harbour.

Professor Tamara Davis: University of Queensland cosmologist investigating the mysterious dark energy and dark matter in the universe.

Dr Mitchell Schulte: A program scientist with the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Tara Djokic: UNSW Science PhD student who recently discovered the oldest fossil evidence of land-based life on Earth, in the Pilbara in Western Australia.

Kirsten Banks: UNSW Science student who will talk about Aboriginal astronomy.

Solange Cunin: UNSW Aerospace Engineering student and co-founder of the Cuberider, a STEM education program that brings access to space to the classroom.

The school symposium is best suited for Year 9, 10, 11 and 12 students.

It follows a major event in the Concert Hall the previous evening, Thursday 17 August, when the Sydney Opera House and UNSW Big Questions Institute will join forces to present Life on Mars: The 2020 Rover Mission.

Both events are supported by the Australian Government as part of the Sydney Science Festival in National Science Week.

At the Friday event, students will be inspired by meeting a diverse range of female scientists talking about their research passions and careers and by engaging in fun, short activities with scientists and industry partners.

The day’s agenda will be as follows:

·         09:15 am:        Registration and Morning Tea, main entrance to Concert Hall on Box Office level, Sydney Opera House

·         10:00 am:        Session One: The Journey to Mars begins

·         Professor Emma Johnston: Exploring life under the ocean

          Tara Djokic: Discovering early life on Earth

·         Kirsten Banks: Indigenous Australian looks to the stars

          Solange Cunin: Taking everyone into space. 

·         11:00 am:        Science Activities

·         12:30 pm:        Lunch

·         01:30 pm:        Session two: Lift-off to Mars and beyond

          Dr Mitchell Shulte: Houston, we do not have a problem - Successfully landing on Mars

          Dr Abigail Allwood: Searching for evidence of life on Mars

          Professor Tamara Davis: What is next? To infinity and beyond

·         02:15 pm:        Group Photo

·         02:30 pm:        Event Concludes


Due to the popularity of this event, registrations are limited to 4 female students per school. If the coordinating science teacher could please fill out the below form we will be in contact with you with next steps and further information.

However there will also be an opportunity for all schools to participate via live streaming of the event.

Detail are here.

If you have any questions please email: 

Note: If you plan to send less than four girls please enter their name as 'not attending'. Thank you.