Boosting women in STEM

Elevate Advisory Group

MC- Elevate AG 240115

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-Chair

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.

Elevate Advisory Group Members

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Natalie Weddell

Natalie is the General Manager of the Science Policy and Governance branch in the Department of Industry, Science and Resources. She has been a public servant in Australia and the UK for almost 20 years and enjoyed a varied career across many different policy and program areas including education, social services, infrastructure, and most recently regional development.  

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.

Dr Scarlet Kong

Dr 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.

Ingrid Marsh

Ingrid Marsh, is Director Partnerships and Business Development for Cicada Innovations, Australia’s pioneering deep tech incubator supporting companies solving the world’s most pressing problems through science & engineering. 

She is an impact driven leader with a passion for developing strategic growth initiatives, establishing trusted high-level stakeholder and business relationships to drive collaborative initiatives that support growth across the business cycle. She is a dynamic leader with more than 20 years’ experience working at the nexus of industry, investors, universities and government in state, national and international contexts.

In her current role, Ingrid leads commercial partnerships and develops new business opportunities. She has twenty years  experience as an economic development professional working at a strategic level, developing sector strategies and at the coal face delivering practical support to assist business growth. Her experience spans industry development, innovation programmes and international trade and investment at a state and federal level.

Ingrid holds a Masters of International Business and Law and BA Hons Social Science & International Studies majoring in Chinese.

Natalie Chapman

Natalie is a STEM commercialisation and marketing expert with more than 20 years of experience turning innovative ideas and technologies into thriving businesses. She founded and leads the rapidly growing, award-winning profit-for-purpose company gemaker, which takes innovative products and services to global markets by connecting clients to strategic partners, funding and customers. She is dedicated to promoting Australian research & innovation, building commercialisation capabilities within the research sector, women in STEM and reducing carbon emissions.

Natalie is also the Corporate Communications Manager for ASX-listed Alkane Resources and on the Industry Advisory Board for the UOW Faculty of Business and Law and Chair of the Industry Advisory Committee for the UNSW School of Chemistry. In 2018, Natalie received the UOW Alumni Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In 2017, gemaker won a NSW Telstra Business Award.

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Liam Ridgeway

Liam is a co-founder of Ngakkan Nyaagu (NGNY), an Indigenous owned digital agency, and Indigitek, a charity that provides learning and career pathways in STEAM for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. He is a descendant of the Gumbaynggirr and Dunghutti people of the North Coast of NSW, the Kullilli and Wakka Wakka people of Western and Southern QLD, and grew up on Gadigal country, Sydney. 

He has a passion to increase Indigenous participation in the digital economy and support the growth of a collaborative and sustainable Indigenous STEAM community. He aims to use his knowledge and networks in the technology industry to identify pathways for Indigenous communities to thrive individually and collectively.

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.

Elevate Advisory Group Ex-Officio Members

Kylie Walker

Kylie is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), where she works with expert Fellows to provide expert advice to national leadership, lead crucial national conversations to solve complex challenges, and move towards a technology-powered, human-driven future. 

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

As the 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 a visiting Fellow at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science. She has been Chair of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO, is a member of Chief Executive Women, and has been  named one of AFR’s 100 Women of Influence, for her work on improving equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM.

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Dr Alison Every

After completing her PhD at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), investigating immunotherapeutic approaches to prevent type 1 diabetes, Alison undertook research in vaccine development and inflammatory mechanisms associated with Helicobacter pylori infection in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Melbourne. Here she discovered a passion for mentoring, advocacy and supporting early career researchers. As Director of the In2science STEM peer mentoring program she championed diversity, equity and inclusion in high school STEM education.

In her current role she oversees the high-profile suite of programs in the STEM Careers portfolio—STELR, IMNIS and Elevate—all designed to build diversity and equity of access and opportunity across the STEM study and career pipeline, through school, university and beyond.