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Stereotype smasher Dr Paola Magni inducted into Hall of Fame

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Murdoch University forensic science researcher, Senior Lecturer and women in STEM advocate Dr Paola Magni has been inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame.

A forensic entomologist, Dr Magni uses insects and other small creatures to help solve murders, suspicious deaths, and cold cases, and she is leading the world in her niche area of solving crimes that happen underwater.

As one of just 120 females in her field world-wide, Dr Magni has battled stereotyping and old-school mindsets, but she has never lost the determination and down-to-earth outlook that has driven her to achieve her goals.

“There is a famous quote that says, ‘only those who don’t dare are never wrong’ and I prefer to fail greatly rather than not even try,” she said upon accepting her award.

“I am committed to upholding the standards to which I have grown accustomed to with my career, to develop new research and inclusive programs to prepare the new generation of forensic scientists with a global mindset to help make a difference everywhere, from their backyard to everywhere in the world.”

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Dr Magni was one of 16 women honoured in 2022 across the categories of arts, business, community, culture, education, health sport and STEM, at an inspirational ceremony held at Government House which significantly, is located on the banks of the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River), where Noongar women’s business has been deeply practiced for thousands of years.

Governor of Western Australia, the Hon. Kim Beazley AC, paid tribute to the trailblazing women of the past who had helped shape the future of the State, and said he was impressed with the culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds of the new Hall of Fame inductees.

"Social and economic change through the collective action of women has been significantly effective in our State," he said.

"Congratulations on your achievements, on your broader contributions to the community, and thank you for being role models for young women."

Originally from Italy, Dr Magni said she was extremely honoured to have been recognised by the country that had welcomed her and hosted her work.

“Receiving recognition and winning awards mean that I have an obligation to continue mentoring the younger students - especially of minority groups - showing them the essence of resilience, tenacity, determination, work ethic and free thinking,” she said.

“Everything we do or say causes an effect - small or great - our actions contribute to and affect the society one way or another.

Dr Paola Magni

“I am prepared to take responsibility and to lead by example . . . I still have a lot of work to do, and I am happy to have the support of Murdoch University for my present and future avenues.”

Murdoch University Interim Vice Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander AO congratulated Dr Magni and thanked her for her energy, enthusiasm and support for the University.

"As a researcher she is breaking ground in her specialist field, and as a teacher she is sharing her skills and knowledge with our students, but as a woman in STEM Paola is inspiring a whole generation of women and girls to forget stereotypes and embrace their passion for science,” she said.

“We are so proud of Dr Magni, of all that she has achieved thus far, and of all the great things she is bound to achieve in the future.”

The WA Women's Hall of Fame was established in 2011 in recognition of the Centenary of International Women’s Day held annually on March 8.

It’s purpose is to recognise and celebrate the achievements of Western Australian women past, present and future.

Previous inductees from Murdoch University include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health researcher Professor Rhonda Marriott, and alumnus and social justice campaigner Angela Hartwig (dec.).

Posted on:

5 Mar 2022

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