About Us

Dr V has the wildest lab coat in the seven seas, but we let her keep it if it helps her do good science.

Her non-pirate name is Vanessa de Kauwe and she’s the founder of Science Pirates, which grew to include the great Science Alliance.

Vanessa de Kauwe has more than two decades’ experience in the disability and education sectors, and an honours degree in philosophy specialising in classical and postmodern philosophy. She has also completed studies in world theologies, pastoral care and ancient languages.

Vanessa has published on postcolonialism and third world issues and allegorical portrayals of marginalised people in science fiction. Her publications also extend into the societal constructs of gender and disability, as well as the philosophy of politics and social justice.

Her PhD research created and evaluated science-based programs for people with intellectual disabilities, which she has run in professional contexts over the past decade. She has run masterclasses, lectures and workshops on this topic for diverse audiences, ranging from international science educators and policy leaders to local disability practitioners.

In 2017 Vanessa initiated the Disability Ambassadors program. In its inaugural year, Vanessa and other Ambassadors worked with Australian Embassies to provide disability training to educators from around Africa and beyond.

Vanessa also produces publications and research on Doctor Who and Star Trek, and has recently published in Doctor Who and Science. For more information on her research, publications and credentials, go to her academic page at the Australian National University via the link below

Sam Chapman is our official photographer

Sam is a young photographer with Down syndrome. He has been passionate about photography all his life and has exhibited photographs in six exhibitions – three of these were solo exhibitions. He studied photography in his final year of school and his photographs were showcased in the final exhibition for the year. Photography has been an enormous source of pride and empowerment for Sam.

Life after school has been challenging for Sam as his planned 2020 exhibition was not able to go ahead. Instead, he has become the official photographer for Science Alliance, capturing science experiments with his alternative perspective as well as his fellow science pirates mid procedure. Documenting science procedures in his unique way has enabled Sam and those around him to connect with science in new and meaningful way.

Kai Fisher is our production manager for live performances and social media

Kai has a passion for bringing both performing and visual arts together with different areas of science, in particular engineering and psychology, and using them to create cool stuff for theatre, Youtube and cosplay.

He also uses music, drama, drawing and psychology to grow and develop life shills such as problem solving, emotional understanding, self awareness and resilience building in people living with a disability or mental illness.

Kai loves Doctor Who and wants to work on it one day.

Jacci Brady (aka Jacci Pillar) : Neurodivergent truth bomber 

Jacci started their STEM life as an Avionics Technician in the Royal Australian Air Force in the 1980’s.  They left the RAAF in the mid 90’s to become a an anthropologist and they are now studying a PhD in Political and Social Science at the University of Melbourne.  Jacci views their autism as a strength, but their story is one of learning to deal with the difficult stuff too.  Jacci experiences some significant sensory difficulties and has a range of tools and strategies for dealing with them.  But key to this is one central premise, developing skills in line with her autistic focus and interests as an autistic person. 

This is exactly what Jacci credits with giving them a career – from their Dad telling them they were “a little different” and to harness that difference as skills and fostering her love of things technical (and aircraft). 

Jacci is also a variety artist who does a blend of musical comedy and political satire.  They have a strong drive to understand the world’s evils and thus their career has focused on political and behavioral phenomenon such as fascism and hate.  Their PhD project looks at the politics of laughter and examines if political satire has the capacity to change minds and the social status quo. They are proudly nonbinary and ACE.

Max is a Medical Alert Dog in training.

When she is working, she wears these harnesses.

Max looks after Dr V. Before she was a Medical Alert Dog, Max was a classroom companion dog. So if you’re a bit nervous or lonely, Max will bring you her puppy-love. Because Max is still in training, she cannot be in the presence of other dogs (or pets) at the moment. Please let Dr V know if you have any animals of your own that Max needs to avoid. Being a Medical Alert Dog is serious business, and Max has to keep her mind on the job.

Max also gets lots of time to rest, play and just be an old scurvy sea dog.

She especially likes traveling with Dr V, running around in the rain and playing tug of war.

She likes to dress up for special occasions like Christmas, St Patrick’s day and of course International Pirates Day. Max & Dr V have matching Darth Vadar costumes.

The rest of the crew are scattered far and wide

You’ve seen some of their pictures on the home page. Here are a few more . Join us.

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