Women in STEM – Accelerating progress

Shape Your Future - Careers in STEM Webinar

Event details

Tuesday 5 March 2024
Time (AEDT)

1:35pm – 2:20pm

Suggested year levels

Years 7-12


> Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO FTSE FAICD, ATSE President
> Lydia Qian, ATSE IMNIS Catalyst
> Dr Claretta DSouza, ATSE Elevate Leadership Scholar

IMG-SYF Accelerating progress-230305

Join us for the first of our 2024 free webinar series Shape Your Future, an educational initiative from the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), which brings together the brightest minds in science, technology and engineering for a chat with students from across Australia.

Our first session for 2024, titled ” Women in STEM: Accelerating Progress “ celebrates International Women’s Day by bringing together some of Australia’s best and brightest Women in STEM, including ATSE’s esteemed President and Chair, Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO FTSE FAICD, to discuss their career journey and champion greater participation of women and girls in STEM.

Boosting the rates of women in STEM is more important than ever. In 2021, just 36% of university students in STEM identified as female. Moreover, women comprised only about 16% of engineering graduates in Australia, and a mere 14% of the engineering workforce. Evidently, women represent an untapped resource that can help bolster Australia’s STEM workforce. And yet, research indicates that one of the primary obstacles for girls and women pursuing STEM careers is lack of familiarity with the field.

Join us for our first SYF webinar of 2024 as we get to know some of Australia’s leading STEM professionals, advocating for increased participation of women and girls in STEM!


Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO FTSE FAICD

President, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE)

Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO FTSE is one of Australia’s most influential people in innovation. She is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has been a Fellow of ATSE since 2015. In 2017, she received an Order of Australia for her ongoing service to research and technology innovation in Australia.

She has been a professional director for over 20 years including as Chair of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Natural Hazards Research Australia, the Antarctic Science Foundation and the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre. She has been a Director of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, Bioplatforms Australia (NCRIS), the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Vast Solar, and listed companies Sirtex and Anteotech. She previously chaired the National Climate Science Advisory Committee and currently chairs the Government’s “Vision 2040” committee reviewing the strategy for investment in medical research for the next two decades.

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Lydia Qian

IMNIS Catalyst, ATSE

Lydia Qian earned her Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) from UNSW, delving into her passion for science and research. Pursuing this passion further, she obtained her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics from UNSW, graduating in 2024. Her groundbreaking research revolves around pioneering control methods for cellular cholesterol production. In addition to her academic achievements, Lydia serves as an IMNIS Catalyst for 2023-2024 and has spoken at prestigious events such as ATSE’s Visionary Leadership event.

Lydia has also organized and led ATSE’s STEM Beyond School Teacher PD event at UNSW. With a wealth of experience spanning 9 years in teaching biology at both high school and undergraduate levels, Lydia excels in simplifying complex concepts for diverse audiences. Her artistic flair further enhances her ability to craft visually captivating presentations. Lydia brings a meticulous, innovative approach to her work, emphasizing accuracy and evidence-based solutions. Through her expertise, she strives to tackle complex healthcare issues, ultimately aiming to enhance the quality of life for patients.

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Dr Claretta DSouza

ATSE Elevate Leadership Scholar

Dr. Claretta DSouza, a neuroimmunologist, combines six years in research commercialization and industry partnerships with over eight years as a medical researcher in neurodegenerative diseases at La Trobe University. Focusing on diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, she explored the role of platelets in neuroinflammation, aiming to uncover molecular insights for therapeutic targets.

Currently serving as the Commercial Project Manager for Vaccine Development at Burnet, Claretta oversees the Burnet Vaccine Initiative, managing partnerships, funding, contracts, and intellectual property. Previously, she held roles at AusBiotech and MTPConnect, contributing to Australia’s life sciences and MedTech sectors.

A dedicated advocate for diversity, Claretta participates in Burnet’s Gender Equity Diversity & Inclusion Committee and supports LGBTQIA+ and SAGE initiatives. She is also committed to early career development, advising on mentoring programs and speaking at career seminars across Australian universities and medical research institutes.

For students
These webinars provide students with an opportunity to meet and interact with young Australian scientists, engineers and technologists.

For teachers
The webinars assist inquiry-led teaching and delivery of the relevant curriculum strand.

The Shape Your Future webinars show students the pathways that young Australian scientists, engineers & technologists have taken in their careers. Watch previous sessions visit Shape Your Future 2023 | ATSE

ATSE’s STEM in schools education initiative  — STELR (Science and Technology Education Leveraging Relevance) —  modules include equipment, curriculum resources for classrooms, and teacher support. Teachers can access professional learning sessions as well as online and telephone support.