Swinburne University of Technology Chancellor, Professor John Pollaers OAM, today announced award-winning STEM journalist and broadcaster Rae Johnston has joined the Swinburne Council.
Ms Johnston is a proud Wiradjuri woman with responsibilities to Gundungurra country, and has more than two decades of experience across online, print and broadcast journalism with a significant focus on gaming and technology.
Speaking of the appointment, Professor Pollaers said he was delighted Rae would be joining Swinburne Council to help guide the university as it continues to implement the Horizon 2025 strategy.
“Rae is an inspiring Indigenous woman with strong connections to the technology and science world. She knows the value of hard work, having worked multiple jobs as a single mother while forging opportunities for her distinguished media career. Rae’s journey reminds us that career pathways are many and varied,” he said.
“Rae has been a true pioneer for Indigenous women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. As the first Science & Technology Editor for NITV at SBS, the first female editor at Gizmodo Australia and the first Indigenous editor at Junkee, Rae has been showing young women and young Indigenous women that grit, hard work and determination pays off.
“The Swinburne Council will benefit enormously from Rae’s unique perspective, her experience and connection to media. Life and success does not always follow a conventional or formulaic path, and we need voices and perspectives on our Council that reflect that.”
Rae is currently the host of a new ABC series, Home: The Story of Earth, as well as co-hosting the NITV series, Going Places with Ernie Dingo. She is also a regular anchor and producer of SBS TV’s NITV News, and is featuring heavily on ABC’s Radio National, including a stint as guest host for their Download This Show program.
“Attending university as a student was never an option for me. When my peers were gaining degrees, I was a single Mum raising a baby. I paved my career as a STEM journalist with life experience and on-the-job learning,” Ms Johnston said.
“In addition to putting knowledge gained throughout my career reporting on technology research to good use, I'm excited to bring a true outsider's perspective to the council. I want to identify who is being left out of conversations surrounding the university and help create an even more inclusive and welcoming environment.
“Swinburne's focus on technology and innovation means I've long been a fan of (and reported on) the work happening within the university. Strong principles of collaboration, building a sustainable future and serving the community are shared by both myself and Swinburne, making this a natural fit.
“We're building the future right now, and industries like STEM need the expertise and perspectives of Indigenous women to make that future a bright one. One of my big goals is to help create, identify and communicate pathways and experiences to genuinely support Indigenous women in STEM. I'm not alone, and neither are you.”
Ms Johnston commenced a three-year term as Governor in Council member of the Swinburne Council on 21 September 2022.