Dr Karen Joyce

Senior Lecturer
James Cook University
Education Director
She Maps

Cairns, QLD

Contact me for

  • Mentoring
  • Sitting on boards or committees
  • Providing an expert opinion
  • Outreach activities
  • Conference presenting
  • Opportunities to collaborate


I am a scientist, academic, educator, and business co-founder who loves to prove that science is more than lab coats and test tubes. I believe that there is a science for everyone, you just need to know where to look.

I have a diverse history having worked in academia since the late 1990’s. After finishing my PhD at the University of Queensland in mapping live coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef, I made a career change and became a Geomatic Engineering Officer in the Australian Army. This allowed me to apply my mapping skills to new problems, and broaden my horizons.

Then I moved to New Zealand to travel the country mapping recreation opportunities with the Conservation Estate with the Department of Conservation. From phenomenal beauty to hazards, I turned my focus to earthquakes, landslides, floods, and volcanoes, at GNS Science using my mapping skills to better understand and inform authorities on disaster management.

I am now a Senior Lecturer at James Cook University in Cairns. I still work on the Great Barrier Reef and in the other surrounding ecosystems that far North Queensland has to offer.

Most recently I co-founded She Maps - an initiative designed to encourage more women and girls to engage in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) through drones and geospatial technology. For the past three years, my programs have been taught more than 300 times to more than 6000 students and teachers. She Maps is a regular feature in the media, has attracted international attention, and we even have programs running in 13 countries around the world. 

I am part of the Homeward Bound global network of women in STEMM working together to lead and influence decision making as it shapes our planet. I am also a SheEO activator, sponsored by Advance Queensland, creating a global community of radically generous women supporting women-led Ventures working on the World’s To Do List.  

In my down time I am a huge fitness fan and I teach the Les Mills group fitness programs RPM, GRIT, and Body Pump at local gyms in Cairns.