February 11th 2024 is the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), whilst acknowledging the persistent gaps in representation and equality in these fields.

We spoke to one of the Atlas of Living Australia’s (ALA) current internship students Clara Peers Tejero about what motivated her to pursue higher education in STEM.

Clara Peers Tejero

Q: What degree are you currently studying?

I’m currently studying at UNSW and finishing a double degree in Bioinformatic Engineering and Science (Genetics).

Q: What made you decide to study science?

I decided to study science because it’s a way to learn more about how the world works. I love it because I’m constantly learning new things. Science gives us a much deeper understanding about everything: from the mechanisms of genomics and personalised medicine to the wonders of exoplanet exploration, and from the complexities of neuroscience and brain plasticity to the delicate balance of Earth’s biodiversity and the strategies for its conservation. The more you learn, the more amazed you are!

Q: What’s your internship project at the ALA focused on?

My project is focused on EcoAssets which combines environmental data collected from three national research infrastructures – the ALA, the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) and the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN). I’m looking at ways to improve how people interact with this data, by revamping the website and exploring how to communicate the data. I have been learning so much about data visualisation and how to make it more interesting and interactive for users.

Data visualisation created by Clara Peers Tejero using ALA’s galah coding package.

Q: Do you have any advice that you would give to somebody considering studying science?

I would say: go for it! There are so many different fields of study in science that I would suggest exploring your areas of interest. Stay up to date on the latest breakthroughs and research happening and seek inspiration from scientists who are doing exciting work in that area.

And make sure to learn some basic coding/programming skills! This will be so useful (even essential) no matter what you end up studying or working in.

Where to find Clara: LinkedIn.