In the lead up to the announcement of Australia’s most prestigious science honours, the AM Eureka Prizes team sat down with some of this year's science stars.
Who: Dr Gemma Sharp, Monash University
Finalist: Celestino Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science
What: Known for her ability to tackle stigmatised and misunderstood issues, particularly in mental health, Dr Gemma Sharp is a skilled science communicator who extends her influence across multiple media platforms. Her engaging and relatable approach has led to greater mental health awareness and treatment-seeking in the community.
Gemma, what’s a typical day like for you?
There is no such thing as a typical day. I am fortunate to combine research and clinical psychology practice along with some lecturing. This means I am engaged in a whole range of activities including conducting my own research, supervising students, offering treatment to patients, speaking with the media – the list goes on!
When I present my research on mental health, many audience members can find it uncomfortable. I love taking them on a journey and leaving them better informed and at ease with mental health issues.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
When I present my research on mental health, many audience members can find it uncomfortable. I love taking them on a journey and leaving them better informed and at ease with mental health issues. I often receive feedback that my presentations have inspired people to speak with their family and friends about topics they would have never thought possible.
Why is science communication important?
I believe the fundamental reason for conducting research is to broadcast our findings so the people who need these results can benefit. As well as the broader communication of science, the dialogue shared between myself and my patients inspires my science. It’s a wonderful reciprocal relationship.
What does the next year hold for you?
It’s challenging to answer this question in the time of COVID-19. I will continue to lead the Body Image Research Group at the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre at Monash University. I'm excited about our upcoming positive body image projects involving artificial intelligence technology – I’ll have computer programs and technology to help me with my science communication!
Find Gemma on Twitter @gemmasharp11
Watch Gemma’s 2017 TedxBrisbane talk, ‘We need to start talking about vulvas, not vaginas’ here
Learn about all the finalists here
The 2020 AM Eureka Prizes winners will be announced during an interactive broadcast award show on Tuesday 24 November. Sign up to attend here
The Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science is presented by Celestino.