RSC School Seminar - A/Prof Joanne Jamie (Macquarie University)

Title: Facilitating Opportunity and Inclusion Through Chemistry and STEM

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19 Oct 2023 12:00pm - 19 Oct 2023 1:00pm
person Speaker


A/Prof Joanne Jamie
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RSC School Seminar - A.Prof Joanne Jamie 19.10.2023

Facilitating Opportunity and Inclusion Through Chemistry and STEM


The rich customary knowledge possessed by Indigenous cultures provides natural products chemists with intellectually stimulating research opportunities. When conducted with benefit sharing and reciprocity as core agenda, this research can also provide immense unexpected rewards for Indigenous-academic research, teaching and STEM outreach partnerships.

This presentation will introduce the importance of Indigenous medicinal plant knowledge systems, and then share the outcomes of a beautiful journey with Yaegl Country Aboriginal Elders, which began as a ‘bush’ medicines chemical investigation project with Macquarie University, and has grown to be the catalyst for Indigenous youth and community empowerment, and the inspiration for increasing equity and inclusion and a sense of purpose for staff and students in higher education chemistry and STEM disciplines.

Outcomes of the Macquarie–Yaegl partnership include co-authored publications by Yaegl Elders and Macquarie scientists that have engendered an enormous sense of pride among Yaegl people and ‘made them visible’ through a growing recognition of their significant knowledge. This collaboration has also led to a customary medicine handbook co-authored with Yaegl Elders that is used by the Elders for ecotourism and as an educational resource in schools. Significantly, the medicinal plant collaboration was the catalyst for establishing the multi-award-winning programs River of Learning Cultural Immersion Program in 2010 and the National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP) in 2005, which positions Indigenous secondary students (including students from Yaegl Country) as leaders and role models using science as a platform.

This presentation will also describe how Macquarie University students are integral in the sustainability of NISEP and the Macquarie-Yaegl and other Indigenous partnerships, and how these partnerships have enabled respectful incorporation of Indigenous knowledge and ways of learning into Macquarie University’s units, as we progress Mudang Dali – Macquarie University’s Indigenous Connected Curriculum.


Jamie, J. Macquarie–Yaegl Partnership: Community Capability Strengthening Through Western and Indigenous Science, Australian Journal of Chemistry, 2021, 74, 28–33.

Barnes, E.C., Jamie, I.M., Vemulpad, S.R., Yaegl Community Elders, Breckenridge, D., Froud, A.E., Harrington, D.G., Packer, J.M., Prenzler, P.D., Bedgood, D.R. Jr., Jamie, J.F. National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP): Outreach Strategies That Facilitate Inclusion, Journal of Chemical Education, 2022, 99, 245-251.


A/Prof. Joanne Jamie is a Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemist at the School of Natural Sciences at Macquarie University. Her current research is focused on collaborative partnerships with Indigenous communities for documentation, biological screening and isolation of bioactive compounds from ‘bush’ foods and medicines; and community capability strengthening and the development of STEM educational programs and evaluation of their effectiveness for empowering youth under-represented in higher education.

As part of research on customary medicinal plants, Joanne and Yaegl Aboriginal Elders together have co-authored journal articles and developed a bush medicine handbook for use in education and cultural tourism, as well as facilitated a Cultural Immersion Program – The River of Learning.  As a best ethical practice extension to this research, Joanne has also established with the Elders, school staff and fellow STEM academics, the National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP,, which empowers Indigenous secondary school students as STEM leaders.  NISEP has received various awards including the 2019 inaugural Australian Museum Eureka Prize for STEM Inclusion and the 2021 AFR Higher Education Opportunity and Inclusion Award. Joanne has also been recognised for her work with Aboriginal communities through the 2019 Macquarie University Reconciliation Award and a 2019 Royal Australian Chemical Institute Citation. Expanding on NISEP, Joanne led the development of Future STEM Gen, a program aimed at providing students from low socioeconomic status regions the opportunity to lead STEM Maker projects themed around smart gardens, sustainable energy sources and water health and purification. As recipient of a recent Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship Grant, Joanne is co-lead of the Girls to Graduates program that will provide schoolgirls and female Macquarie University students from equity backgrounds access to STEM engagement and leadership events, mentorship, internships, and financial support opportunities. To aid sustainability and build layers of role models, Joanne, along with husband Ian Jamie, developed and convenes the Macquarie University subject Engaging the Community in Science, which allows Macquarie undergraduate students to contribute to and increase the capacity of NISEP, Future STEM Gen and other STEM outreach and engagement.



STB S2, Building 136

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