Boosting women in STEM

Elevate Advisory Group

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The Elevate Advisory Group will champion diversity and inclusion, and help shape an immersive program for scholarship recipients, exposing them to inclusive leaders, programs, networks and organisations, that nurture and support their professional development and future careers

— Dr Marlene Kanga AO FTSE

Elevate Advisory Group Co-Chairs

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Dr Marlene Kanga AO FTSE

Dr Marlene Kanga is a recognised leader of STEM organisations in Australia and internationally and is currently a non-executive director of Sydney Water Corporation, Air Services Australia, Standards Australia and BESydney and other boards involving innovation and the commercialisation of new technologies.

She was previously Chair of the Department of Industry Innovation and Science R&D Incentives Committee (2013-2016), the largest government support program for industry based research and development in Australia. She is Chair designate of the Institution of Chomical Engineers (UK) IChemE Safety Centre, leading industry systems safety internationally.

Marlene was the 2017-2019 President of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO), an affiliate of UNESCO and the peak body for professional engineering institutions with some 100 national and continental institutions as members, representing 30+ million engineers. She was National President of Engineers Australia in 2013.

Marlene has championed diversity in engineering and was Chair, Engineers Australia National Committee for Women in Engineering, with world-leading initiatives including the Year of Women in Engineering in 2007.  In 2011, she hosted the inaugural International Network for Women Engineers and Scientists (INWES) Asia Pacific Nation Network meeting which resulted in new nine new women’s STEM organisations and currently has 19.

As WFEO President, she ensured that women gained greater visibility and participation. She initiated the international GREE Award for women engineers.

Her significant international achievements include successfully leading the proposal for UNESCO to declare 4th March as World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development and leading the review of international engineering education benchmarks to reflect contemporary values and approaches including diversity and inclusion. She continues to lead advocacy for more women in STEM at UN Women and the Commission on the Status of Women.

Marlene has been listed among the 100 engineers making a contribution to Australia in the last 100 years as part of Engineers Australia Centenary celebrations in 2019, among the Top 100 Women of Influence and one of the Top 10 women engineers in Australia. She is an Officer of the Order of Australia, a national honor, in recognition of her leadership of the engineering profession.

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Dr Adi Paterson FTSE

Dr Adi Paterson FTSE has a strong public science and senior management background. He has extenstive operational and strategic management expertise, in particular in nuclear programs and in the commercialisation of scientific research. He co-authored the post-Apartheid National R&D Strategy in South Africa and was Chief Operating Officer in the national Department of Science and Technology. Prior to this he was a foundation Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, the first non-racial Academy.

From March 2009 to September 2020 Adi had strategic oversight and responsibility for ANSTO’s multi-facetted portfolio of activities. He anchored a values-based program of positive change and growth. Putting people first, with a focus on diversity and inclusion, helped underpin the transformation process. This has leveraged outcomes based on the nexus of public science investment and practical innovation with positive impacts on health, industry and the environment. He oversaw the integration of the Australian Synchrotron into ANSTO operations in 2016.

His focus on the importance of diversity and equity, particularly in STEM, led to his appointment in 2016 as a Male Champion of Change for STEM. He has experience in key policy areas including science, innovation, energy and the nuclear fuel cycle.  He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), Engineers Australia (EA), and the Royal Society of New South Wales. The Sydney Division of Engineers Australia recognised him as the 2012 Professional Engineer of the Year. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Wollongong in 2017.

Elevate Advisory Group Members

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Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith

Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith is the Australian Government Women in STEM Ambassador and a Professor of Practice in Science Communication at the University of New South Wales. As Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador, she advises the Australian Government on gender equity in STEM. Her office works with the business, education and government sectors to increase the participation of women and girls in STEM education and careers. Her office achieves this through a combination of education, research, advocacy and policy advice. Lisa sits on several advisory boards including the Engineering for Australia Taskforce, the Questacon Advisory Council and the Australian Space Agency Advisory Board.

Lisa is a PhD astrophysicist with 20 years of experience in scientific research, including the use of supercomputers to gain insights from complex data on the evolution of stars, galaxies and black holes. She has written more than 50 academic publications and led global research teams. She was previously the project scientist at CSIRO for both the Square Kilometre Array – a continent-spanning, next-generation radio telescope that will survey billions of years of cosmic history – and its precursor, the $188M Australian SKA Pathfinder telescope. She is a recipient of the CSIRO Chairman’s Medal and the Eureka Prize for Promoting the Understanding of Australian Science Research.

Lisa is a TEDx speaker, regular science media commentator and author of five popular science books, including the international children’s bestseller Under the Stars: Astrophysics for Bedtime.

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Shanan Gillies

Shanan has over 13 years’ experience across the Australian Government and state government, including five years at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Shanan is currently the General Manager of the Science Policy and Governance Branch at the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. In this role, Shanan is responsible for the Australian Government’s Inspiring Australia – Science Engagement Programme and the Australian Government’s Women in STEM initiatives and investments.  

Previously, Shanan primarily worked in regional and agricultural policy, including the taskforce responsible for preparing the Australian Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia.  

Shanan has a Bachelors Degree from the University of New England and grew up on a working property on the mid-north coast of New South Wales (Gumbaynggirr Country). She currently lives in Queanbeyan just outside of Canberra (Ngunnawal country). 

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Beata Khaidurova

Beata Khaidurova is a patent attorney and senior associate in the engineering team at FB Rice, a specialist patent and trademark attorney firm. Beata holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering (Honours) from Monash University. She completed a Masters of Intellectual Property Law at the University of Melbourne in 2014.

Beata has experience as an undergraduate software engineer in areas including power engineering, process system automation and medical devices. Her interest in medical device technology also lead to completing an honours research project with the Monash University Bionic Vision Group, focusing on image processing for the cortical bionic eye.

Beata joined FB Rice in 2012 and became qualified as a patent attorney in 2015. During her time with FB Rice, Beata has gained extensive experience in patent drafting, prosecution, opinion work and securing intellectual property rights. Beata specialises in matters relating to patents and designs in electrical, electronics and software fields. She is particularly familiar with fintech, gaming, and medical device technologies. Beata was named a “Rising Star” by Managing IP magazine in 2020 and 2021.

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Scarlet Kong

Scarlet Kong is currently a project manager at DMTC Limited. She leads the Advanced Piezoelectric Materials and Applications Program and is on the committee for DMTC’s education program.

Scarlet recently completed her PhD at UNSW Sydney in the School of Materials Science and Engineering. This was in collaboration with the University of Wollongong, Thales Australia and DMTC Ltd.. Her research explored the electro-mechanical response of textured ceramics for underwater acoustics applications.

During her PhD, Scarlet co-authored multiple scientific publications and presented at national and international academic conferences. She was the student and community outreach officer for the UNSW’s School of Materials Science and Engineering. Scarlet holds a First-Class Honours in Materials Science and Engineering and Chemical Engineering from UNSW Sydney.

Scarlet participated in ATSE’s IMNIS Engage program as a mentee in 2019. She has a passion for science communication, STEM outreach, giving presentations and running workshops for students and the community. Scarlet has presented at the National Youth Science Forum, UNSW events, to NSW HSC engineering students, the University of Third Age and in the Sydney chapter of Young Scientist of Australia. Scarlet was interviewed for the Careers with STEM magazine in 2021.

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Dr Morley Muse

Dr Morley Muse holds a PhD in Environmental Engineering from Victoria University, a Masters in Sustainable Energy Technology from The University of South Wales UK and a Bachelor Degree in Chemical with Environmental Engineering from The University of Nottingham, UK.

Her expertise and background are centred on environmental sustainability, waste to energy generation strategies and renewable energy. Her research is specialised on microalgae biofuels processing, wastewater treatment, microalgae degradation, volatile fatty acids production, anaerobic hydrolysis and digestion, lipids production, energy recovery and biogas production.

Morley is an established speaker, an entrepreneur and a passionate advocate for women in  STEMM. She is a director on the board for Women in STEMM Australia, one of the leading global STEMM organisations. She is also the co-founder of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Club at Victoria University. Morley is the co-founder of iSTEM Co., a research, consulting and talent sourcing business aimed to enable employment of women into Australia’s STEM organisations. iSTEM Co. is particularly aimed at women of colour and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) women, as research shows four times higher unemployment rates for Australian women born overseas. Her goal is to promote gender diversity in STEM and inspire the next generation to pursue STEM subjects and careers.

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Dr Udani Reets

Dr Udani Reets is a leader in Australia’s health and medical sector with unique expertise in creating innovative large-scale partnerships, services and ventures to support improvements in health policy and practice.

Udani is the Director at Australia’s leading centre for cancer care, research and innovation – the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. She leads a high performance team to explore, create and implement strategic and collaborative initiatives, new ventures and novel services that improve the provision of world-class cancer care internationally.

Udani draws on significant experience from leading the development and delivery of major national and international medical and health initiatives and projects within the university and medical research sectors. Her previous roles include strategic advisor at Monash University and medical researcher at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience.

She is a passionate advocate for diversity in the STEM sector, co-founding a unique women’s leadership program, the WILD Program. This program is dedicated to providing Australian women in STEM with the qualifications, skills, confidence and networks needed to attain senior leadership and board positions.

Udani was awarded a Victorian Fellowship for her contribution to the field of behavioural neuroscience. She holds a Bachelor of Science (First Class Hons) and PhD from Monash University. A central thread to her career has been her drive, ambition and contribution to equitable improvements in health and wellbeing globally.

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Luke Sheehy

Luke Sheehy is the Executive Director of the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN), a peak body representing Curtin University, Deakin University, RMIT University, The University of Newcastle, University of South Australia and University of Technology Sydney.

Luke has extensive experience in the higher education sector. He previously worked as the director of collaborations and partnerships and an adviser on government relations at Swinburne University. He also worked as a senior policy adviser to the Minister for Tertiary Education and Shadow Minister for Education and Training, and as an innovation strategy consultant for the Asian Development Bank. As a graduate of Monash, RMIT and Melbourne universities, Luke has a strong passion for and knowledge of the Australian higher education sector.

He is a member of the board of Palliative Care ACT and has previously served as a member of the of the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) board.

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Dr Frazer Thorpe

Dr Frazer Thorpe has a deep passion for learning and supporting others to cultivate the skills and capabilities needed for a dynamic future.

Gaining his PhD in molecular plant biology at Edinburgh University, Frazer has a strong interest in education, communication and making a positive difference in the world drove. This passion lead him to pursue a non-academic career in teaching to immerse young people in contemporary STEM research experiences.

With over 10 years of experience, Frazer has taught, coached and provided learning experiences and community STEM inquiries for primary to tertiary school students and professional learning for teachers. He has supported PhD students to grow their skills to communicate, present and teach diverse audiences.

Frazer’s past roles in schools, the Gene Technology Access Centre and Zoos Victoria have had a keen focus on supporting students of diverse backgrounds and low socioeconomic status, closing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learning gap and increasing the amount of women in STEM.

In his current role as Education Manager at iMOVE CRC, Frazer engages with 17 universities and over 52 industries. These include multinational companies, SME’s and State and Commonwealth Governments in a range of sectors and academic disciplines to build and maintain relationships that establish industry PhD projects. iMOVE currently have 53 students completing their PhD’s across the country in 4 research themes: intelligent transport systems, freight, mobility and sustainability.

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Professor Sumeet Walia

Innovator and serial inventor, Professor Sumeet Walia, is passionate about using technology to make people’s lives better. His research is highly multidisciplinary, pioneering new atom-thin materials and devices to address critical health, energy and manufacturing challenges. With more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and nine patents, Sumeet is a leader in creating multi-pronged industry partnerships to translate breakthroughs from the lab to the real-world through demand-driven innovation. These innovations range from targeting global challenges in health to achieving neuromorphic artificial vision technologies for Industry 4.0.

Sumeet presents a strong voice for early-career researchers and equity, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) in STEM. He has served on multiple boards, including Science and Technology Australia as an early career representative. He currently chairs the Science and Technology Australia national ED&I committee. He is also part of the Project Governance Board for the Victorian Government’s post-pandemic International Education Recovery Plan.

His research innovation, impact and leadership has been recognised through multiple national and international awards, including Victorian Young Achiever of the Year for Research Impact and the MIT Technology Review’s Top 10 Young Innovators in the Asia Pacific. In 2021, he was named one of 40 under 40 most influential Asian Australians.

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Dr Julie Wheway

Dr Julie Wheway is an experienced commercialisation specialist, facilitator and mentor with over 8 years’ experience at the interface of research and industry after a successful 15 year career in medical research.

Julie enjoys combining her passions for scientific research, science communication and technology transfer. Her strong marketing and communications skills come from extensive commercial experience in the education and science sectors.

She helps to take new ideas to market by developing and implementing commercialisation, funding and marketing strategies for research organisations and innovative businesses. She also trains researchers to navigate the cultural differences between academia and business and develops and facilitates networking events to promote and enable research-industry collaboration. Julie previously worked as a researcher and lecturer in immunology at the University of Sydney.

Julie’s 15-year academic career saw her complete a PhD in Immunology at UNSW before going on to become a Young Garvan Postdoctoral Fellow in 2006 and an NHMRC Postdoctoral Fellow in 2009. During her eight years at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Julie was named the 2004 QANTAS Australia Young Scientist of the year.

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Sally-Ann Williams

As the CEO of Cicada Innovations, Sally-Ann leads Australia’s pioneering deep tech incubator –building companies that are solving the world’s most pressing problems through science and engineering.

Prior to joining Cicada Innovations, Sally-Ann spent over 12 years at Google as an Executive Program Manager on the engineering team. She lead work on R&D collaborations with universities, undertook start-up and entrepreneurship engagement activities and pioneered work on computer science and STEM education, including building world first collaborations delivering national transformation.

Sally-Ann has been involved in driving national engagement and change strategies in innovation, entrepreneurship, computer science and STEM education as a member of the COAG STEM Partnership Forum. She contributed to the foundation of StartupAUS, a non-profit with a mission to transform Australia through technology entrepreneurship. She has led several cross-sector working groups to drive the policy and cultural change needed to grow a thriving technology driven economy.

Sally-Ann served on 4 University Industry Advisory Boards in the engineering and computer science departments. She is an experienced Non Executive Board member. She currently serves as:

  • Computing Advisory Board Chair, ANU
  • Board Member, AusOcean
  • Board Member, Biz Capital Qudos Bank
  • Governance Committee Member, Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-Technology
  • Board Member, Cicada Innovations
  • Advisory Board Member, Data61
  • Advisory Board Member, NCRIS Heavy Ion Accelerator
  • Board Member, NSSN
  • Advisory Board Member, NSW Government Tech Central.

Her former directorships include being a Non Executive Director of World Vision Australia and Fishburners. She is an advisor to several state and national working groups on tech and innovation and is a mentor and advisor to several industry and university incubators and accelerators including Startmate.

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Jan Mason

Jan Mason was the Managing Director of Defence Housing Australia (DHA) from 2015 until her retirement in 2019. During Jan’s tenure, DHA managed approximately 18,500 properties and oversaw a substantial construction program. The business had more than 600 staff and operations in 19 different locations across Australia.

Prior to her DHA role, Jan was the Deputy Secretary of Business, Procurement and Asset Management at the Commonwealth Department of Finance. In that role she had responsibility for five distinct and diverse divisions of activity: Property & Construction; Commercial & Claims; Technology & Procurement; Australian Warfare Destroyer Reform and the Medibank Sale Taskforce. Jan had line responsibility for an annual budget of over $400 million, and a property portfolio valued in excess of $1.5 billion.

She ran the multi-billion dollar sale of Medibank Private and undertook senior executive roles in the Telstra 1 and 2 asset sales. Jan has substantial senior executive experience in the Australian and NSW public sectors as well as private sector advisory roles.

Jan is committed to implementation of environment, social and governance (ESG) principles. She is currently a member of the Chief Executive Women Policy and Engagement Committee and a member of the Australian Institute Company of Directors. She is a previous winner of the ACT Community and Government Telstra Business Women’s Award.

Ben Armstrong, Elevate Advisory Group
Ben Armstrong

Ben, a Wiradjuri man, has worked in the technology sector for over 20 years. Ben has experienced and seen the lack of meaningful impact surrounding Indigenous representation in technology careers and leadership, which drives his passion to change that for future generations.

Elevate Advisory Group Ex-Officio Members

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Kylie Walker

Kylie is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, where she works with expert Fellows to lead crucial national conversations and strategy towards a thriving, healthy and connected Australia supported by technology.

She specialises in connecting technologists, engineers and scientists with governments, business, media and society – skills built over many years in senior federal communication and advocacy roles in the science, technology and health sectors.

As the immediate past CEO of Science & Technology Australia, Kylie led campaigns to increase investment in Australian research and development, and created the acclaimed Superstars of STEM program, championing Australian women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Kylie is also a visiting Fellow at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science. She was Chair of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO and in 2019, she was named in the 100 Women of Influence list by the Australian Financial Review, for her work on improving equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM.

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Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea AM

Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea is the Director of STEM Careers Strategy with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) and Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Women in STEMM Australia.

She has led international research programs in cell and gene therapy at world-leading organisations in the United States and Australia and has received several awards for her research and leadership.

Dr Evans-Galea has received an Australian Leadership Award, is an inductee with the Victorian Honour Roll of Women and a Member of the Order of Australia.