Earth sciences graduates named Superstars of STEM

Three earth sciences graduates from the University of Adelaide are rocking the new title of being among Australia's latest Superstars of STEM.

Geoscientist Steph McLennan, geologist Verity Normington and earth scientist Kate Selway all completed undergraduate and research degrees in earth sciences at the University of Adelaide.

They all started with a Bachelor of Science before specialising in various areas of geology, geophysics and geoscience.

This year, 60 outstanding women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have been chosen as Superstars of STEM.

Run by Science & Technology Australia, the Superstars of STEM program supports and trains women to share their passion for STEM with the Australian community, through the media, social media and on stage.


Dr Steph McLennan - Antarctic Geoscientist - alumni

Dr Steph McLennan

Antarctic Geoscientist - Geoscience Australia

  • PhD in geochemistry and sedimentology - 2016
  • Bachelor of Science - Majors: Geology, geophysics, environmental geoscience - 2010

Dr Steph McLennan is a geologist working to understand how ice-free land in Antarctica is vulnerable to human impacts, how the fragile landscape naturally recovers, and ways we can better prevent and rehabilitate disturbance.

Steph joined Geoscience Australia as a graduate and was awarded her PhD in geochemistry and sedimentology from the University of Adelaide in 2016. She provides advice to the Australian government on Antarctic geoscience issues and is chief investigator on a five year research project with the Australian Antarctic Science Program.

Steph found a love of applied science while doing her PhD in the Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre, developing novel mineral exploration techniques.

She loves to share that excitement with the public through talks and school outreach activities. She is passionate about translating science into practical outcomes and how STEM skills can support good decision making.


Verity Normington - Geologist - Alumni

Dr Verity Normington

Project Geologist - Northern Territory Geological Survey, Department of Primary Industry and Resources

  • PhD in Geology - 2018
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) - Geology/environmental geology - 2009
  • Bachelor of Science - Major: Environmental geoscience - 2008

Dr Verity Normington is a mohawked, mustang-driving rock chick who loves telling the stories of, well, rocks. She pieces together ancient landscapes from really old rocks preserved in today’s landscape.

Verity is a Project Geologist with the Northern Territory Geological Survey, currently working in the Amadeus Basin where she uses sedimentology, geochronology and other geoscience disciplines to characterise rocks over a billion years old. She learnt these skills during her PhD in Geology through the University of Adelaide (2018) where she also attained a Bachelor of Science (Honours). She has been working and living in Alice Springs since 2013.

Verity’s passionate about supporting Early Career Geoscientists (ECGs) to remain within geoscience community and is an advocate for diversity. As the chair of the ECG subcommittee of the Australian Geoscience Council Convention (AGCC), she has implemented many ECG events and initiatives. She hosted and facilitated the AGCC Diversity in Geoscience lunch that will highlight how diversity in the geoscience community can better the community.

Verity is an active member of the Geological Society of Australia (GSA), she is the secretary of the National Governing Council and serves on several division committees. Verity was recently named the Australian Geoscience Council’s Ambassador for Early Career Geoscientists.


Kate Selway - earth scientist - alumni

Dr Kate Selway

ARC Future Fellow/Senior Lecturer - Macquarie University

  • Postdoctoral researcher - 2008 to 2012
  • PhD in geology/geophysics - 2007
  • Bachelor of Science - Major: Geology/geophysics - 2001

Dr Kate Selway is an Earth scientist who is passionate about understanding how our amazing planet works. Like a doctor taking an x-ray, Kate makes measurements on the Earth's surface to peer deep inside it. She runs mathematical models of her data to understand processes going on hundreds of kilometres beneath our feet.

Kate is currently focused on understanding why plate tectonics happens, knowing where to explore for ore deposits, and improving measurements of ice loss from ice sheets.

Kate was awarded her PhD from the University of Adelaide in 2007, where she continued working in research positions, including an ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship, until 2012. She then worked abroad in postdoctoral research positions at Yale University (2012-2013), Columbia University (2013-2015) and the University of Oslo (2015-2016). In 2017 Kate returned to Australia to commence an ARC Future Fellowship at Macquarie University.

Kate's has led research teams in the deserts of central Australia, the savannas of East Africa, and the frozen expanses of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. She relishes the skills, perspectives and experiences that a life in science has given her. Through media and outreach work, Kate seeks to encourage others to share her excitement about our planet.


Tagged in Research News, School of Physical Sciences News, Earth and Environmental Science News, Geology News