Karlie Noon completed a double degree in maths and physics at the University of Newcastle. Currently she is researching for a Masters in the field of astrophysics.

Growing up, my school attendance was very poor and I struggled to stay engaged. In the end, I left school altogether in Year 8. After two years at TAFE, I returned to school in Year 10. This time I was there by choice rather than force. The first in my family to attend university, I was also the first Indigenous Australian in NSW to complete a double degree in Maths and Physics. While many see this as a remarkable achievement, for me it’s the reverse − I should be the 500th! I want to lead the way for other Indigenous people and show they can achieve anything.

I am currently working on a theoretical astrophysics research project with the CSIRO. This aims to understand how stars are formed in the galaxy. Based on current knowledge the Milky Way is producing more stars than it should. I’m trying to explain why by identifying the source of the gas needed to produce them. This research requires the use of high volumes of data, programming and lots of maths.

The key is to believe in yourself and block out the judgements. Now I set goals for myself, and myself only, and I know I can achieve anything.

Karlie Noon is an ambassador for the CHOOSEMATHS Careers Awareness Campaign

CHOOSEMATHS is a joint initiative of the Australian Mathematical Science Institute and the BHP Billiton Foundation.
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