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Meet Dr Blackmore: The Woman Who Empowers Women in STEM

Women have long been underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Yet, there is considerable potential for them to contribute to these fields. This is what drives Dr Karen Blackmore to committing to increasing the participation of females in STEM-related subjects.

Karen is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Newcastle in Australia and has been working in the STEM field for over 25 years. Driven by problem-solving, she is always looking towards innovative solutions to society’s issues. Karen started her career as a spatial scientist with research expertise in the modelling and simulation of complex social and environmental systems. She has now moved from making maps to assisting industry in navigating the maze of virtual reality to deal with the challenges of training for real-world problems.

Karen is  a passionate advocate for STEM education and has made significant contributions to increasing participation in the field. Today, she is the co-founder of HunterWISE, where she has the opportunity to work with industry, partners, schools and communities alongside women in STEM to enhance opportunities and promote positive collaboration.

In honour of International Women’s Day, we met with Dr Blackmore, who  recently travelled to Singapore to give a series of talks, to learn more about her journey in STEM.

Q: What got you interested in STEM in the first place?

A: I was naturally curious about engineering and technology from a young age. However, I didn’t start my career in STEM until I was 27 years old. At that point, I realised that I wanted more than just a career – I wanted something meaningful. I was also naturally good with computing, and it just made sense to pursue a career in STEM.

Q: What’s your favourite part of working in STEM and what challenges have you faced?

A: My favourite part of working in STEM is realising how powerful the tools we use within STEM fields are when it comes to solving problems. Particularly, those where we see an increase in data being collected and gather different kinds of data. It’s all the ways we interact with our environment, and STEM gives us the powerful tools we need to gain insights from it.

However, being a female lead in STEM is a challenge, particularly relating to being a minority voice in the room. Within STEM industries, data shows that only around 26% of the IT industry comprises women, with only 10% making up the workforce in technical areas. In the ICT industry, women are more likely found in sales and help desk roles. Because of this, I am involved in outreach to encourage girls to pursue STEM and we seek to solve problems or understand problems that are different. We bring something unique and different to problem-solving. Increasing the number of women in STEM is important, because when you are the only female in the room, your ideas and ways of approaching problems are often minimised and not necessarily by any one individual, but simply because you represent views or ideas that aren’t supported by the majority or aren’t the approach by the majority in the room.


Q: You co-founded HunterWISE to encourage more women to join STEM. What drives you to be part of these initiatives that encourage more females to join STEM?

A: As a co-founder of HunterWISE, I am passionate about empowering underrepresented females in these fields. I co-founded this group along with six other female academics because we recognised the need to support and promote women in STEM.

One of our core initiatives at HunterWISE is to better represent women in STEM. We believe that this representation is crucial for encouraging more women to pursue careers in these fields. It’s not enough to simply put a female face on a brochure or on a flyer for a technology or STEM-based program. We must take action to promote women in STEM and showcase the value that they bring to these fields.

In addition to promoting women in STEM, we also strive to highlight the impact that these careers can have. For women, making a difference in the world is often a motivating factor in their career choices. When we speak to girls about careers in STEM, we emphasise the challenges that they may face, but also the difference they can make when they choose to pursue these fields.

Q: What advice would you give women who want to pursue a career in STEM?

A: I think the greatest piece of advice I would give women who want to pursue a career in STEM would be to think about what that career is going to be like for them. They should not feel that they have to enter a career in STEM to undertake and experience it the way a man does. We (women) bring something unique and innovative to many of these areas and I would encourage women to explore that.

Be Part of STEM Today!

Are you looking to break into the fields of STEM or upgrade your IT skills? Here is your chance –applications for our new Masters of Information Technology Singapore are now open. With a focus on practical and real-world applications, this program will prepare you for a successful career in a rapidly evolving tech landscape.

Receive a study grant of 50% and save up to $24,000 if you enrol for our May intake today! What’s more, in conjunction with International Women’s Day and in an effort to promote gender diversity and inclusion in the field of IT, we have launched the “ WinIT Study Grant” to provide an additional 20% study grant for female students who apply for the Master of IT Singapore.

For more information on the program, visit or contact our Education Consultants at