How to succeed as a shirty scientist

Publication date
Tuesday, 30 Apr 2019
Madison Hartill-Law

Madison Hartill-Law is a master of science communication. Proven by her Master of Science Communication Outreach degree from the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (CPAS) at ANU.

Currently she is a Project Officer for Women in STEM at the Australian Academy of Science. She’s also founder of Shirty Science, a cross-disciplinary art-science collaborative project, a staple of ACT National Science Week.

In 2015 she saw ANU Masters students in the Shell Questacon Science Circus delivering outreach activities all around Australia as part of their degree, and getting paid to do it. Driven by her desire to work for Catalyst or make a science TV show, Madison applied for the next year.

“It’s a year-long Master program and you get paid to travel around Australia. I was considering other programs at the time but it was the personal project that I thought was really cool.”

The personal project is a course (SCOM6007) for students to put together a real-world science communication project, such as an event during National Science Week. Her project was Shirty Science, which has continued to run past her time as a student and will be entering its fourth season in 2019.

It wasn’t just the project’s success that Madison took with her from the diverse Masters program.

“You have a huge mixed bag of experiences in the program. Science communication is such a broad field that’s constantly growing and changing as people realise its importance.

“All the skills you gain from the program in terms of project management, people management, timing and presenting, are skills that are so transferrable.”

One of the best parts of the program for Madison are the connections she’s made with other graduates.

“There’s a huge alumni network, there’s been so many times I’ve just sent an email and found someone I can connect with.”

Now Madison is part of two growing networks herself: the Master of Science Communication Outreach alumni, and professional science communicators in STEM.

Master science communication and tour Australia with Shell Questacon Science Circus – including a Commonwealth Supported Place and additional weekly stipend of $340 – with this diverse one-year Master program. Apply now to join the class of 2020.