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40 Under 40

The sky's no limit for emerging industry winner

40 Under 40

Darcey Watson, the Executive Officer at the Andy Thomas Space Foundation, won the Emerging Industries Award at this year’s 40 Under 40 for her work in promoting the burgeoning space industry across Australia.

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After graduating from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Biomedical Science and an Honours Degree in Molecular and Biochemical Sciences, Darcey Watson, 24, had a crisis. Though she loved the industry she had worked so hard to study in, she realised a ‘traditional’ career path in science no longer felt right.

Finding her strengths in the alliance between business and science, she found her “dream role” at the Andy Thomas Space Foundation, launched in July of 2020.

The charity has aided in increasing awareness of the space industry among Australian students, researchers and entrepreneurs by providing nine education programs and more than $300,000 worth of scholarships, prizes, and awards.

Watson also founded the CoLab Society Podcast to discuss the career opportunities available in the science field, particularly showcasing female innovators and making the industry more accessible for women pursuing careers in STEM.

On the best piece of advice, she’s ever been given, Watson says she was told to always give 100 percent.

“Whether it’s at work, with your friends or family or even a passion project, offer the people you are surrounded by your undivided attention, you never know how much these moments will mean later,” she said.

The Emerging Industries Award is presented by South Australian law firm Piper Alderman. As one of the 10 individual awards in INDaily’s 40 Under 40 program, it recognises an individual contributing to or a company operating in one of the “Emerging Industries” that will contribute to the prosperous future of our state.

Emily Haar, a partner at Piper Alderman’s Employment Relation Division, said she was impressed by Watson’s perseverance and campaigning for equal opportunities within the STEM field and especially the space industry.

“Darcey’s entry focussed on her work in breaking down the barriers for diversity in STEM, and that you ‘cannot be what you cannot see’,” Haar said.

“Darcey has stepped into the unknown so that she can be the ‘see’ for those considering joining the industry. Such an approach is very future focussed and will pay dividends down the track.”

Watson lives by the rule “every day you can choose to be happy or you can choose not to be. Make the right choice, persevere and the right things will follow”.

The space industry leader now joins the 200 alumni of South Australia’s 40 Under 40, a leadership network that is gaining influence across the state.

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