Interview a Scientist

About Interview a Scientist

In 2022, Interview a Scientist launched as a pilot program to explore ways to increase secondary students’ engagement with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) while allowing STEM professionals to build their communication skills and outputs. As part of the program, teams of secondary students from Brisbane high schools teamed up with higher degree/early career researchers from Griffith University to interview a scientist or engineer and go on to write an Impact Story on them.

The resulting Impact Stories were launched on the Queensland STEM Impact website and the winning stories announced during National Science Week, August 2022.

If you are interested in holding or supporting an Interview a Scientist event through your work or university, please reach out to us at

Why Impact Stories?

Interacting with scientists from diverse backgrounds is a proven way to encourage students into STEM education and career pathways. Recently, funding bodies and other research stakeholders have been requesting that scientists provide evidence of their research ‘impact’ and also help raise the public’s awareness of STEM. However, scientists are often time poor, with heavy research and teaching commitments, and inexperience can make them baulk at interacting with the public, particularly school students.

The Interview a Scientist program combines strategies so as to provide both secondary students and scientists with valuable interactions, skills and outputs. The process allows secondary students to have an immersive experience with both their team leader and an interviewee scientist/engineer, giving them more chances to ask questions and to change their attitudes. The Impact Stories can be used by researchers to raise their public profiles and improve their own STEM communication skills, making their time investment worthwhile.

The project also has a wider impact by raising public awareness of STEM research happening in Queensland through the Queensland STEM Impact website.

Program Outline

The Interview a Scientist program rolls out via the steps below. The initial stages involve recruiting secondary schools, higher degree/early career researcher team leaders and interviewee scientists/engineers to be involved.

1. Event Days Onsite at University/Business Venue
Secondary students are teamed up with a higher degree (HDR) or early career researcher (ECR). The teams participate in a STEM communication workshops, interview a STEM professional then, in their teams, draft their Impact Story.

2. Editing Process
The HDR/ECR team leaders are provided with editing assistance to improve and submit their team’s final Impact Story. This includes the stories being reviewed by the communications/marketing teams of their interviewee’s organisation for approval.

3. Judging
The stories are sent off for judging.

4. Impact Stories go Live on the Queensland STEM Impact Website and Winners are Announced
This can be done purely online or as part of a second visit to the university/business venue.

Judging Panel 2023

The judging panel for the 2023 program consisted of:
Aimee Sanderson – Strategic Communications & Stakeholder Manager at the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI)
Charis Palmer – Managing Editor, Refraction Media
Dr Jeffrey Robens – Senior Editorial Development Manager, Nature Portfolio

For more information about the judges go here for their profiles.


Interview a Scientist 2022 was organised by Dr Emma Barnes of STEM Avenue and the event day hosted by the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery, Griffith University. It was proudly supported by the Queensland Government – Engaging Science Grants. We’d like to thank MacGregor State High School, Sunnybank State High School and Mount Gravatt State High School and their participating students as well as the Queensland Chief Scientist, Professor Hugh Possingham, and the scientists and engineers from the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery and Boeing Research and Technology – Australia who were interviewed. We’d also like to thank the judges – Aimee Sanderson (AAMRI), Heather Catchpole (Refraction Media) and Dr Jeffrey Robens (Nature Portfolio).