New Advisory Group elevates women in STEM

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) has appointed 16 STEM champions from industry and academia to lead an Advisory Group for the $41.2 million Elevate: Boosting Women in STEM program.  

Funded by the federal government, the program will award up to 500 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships over seven years to women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. ATSE has partnered with government, industry, and the higher education and research sectors. 

The Elevate Advisory Group will be co-chaired by non-executive director, engineering leader and former president of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO), Dr Marlene Kanga, and Dr Adi Patterson – an international leader in nuclear science and technology, and a champion of change.  

The Advisory Group will champion the program, secure sector wide partnerships, and guide strategy and implementation of the program. 

“I am proud to lead this incredible project which we hope will shift the dial in the level of participation of women in STEM. This is vitally important to secure Australia’s future as a technologically advanced nation,” Kanga said. “The Advisory Group comprises 16 of Australia’s most experienced STEM ambassadors who will collectively transform our assumptions about who can work in STEM.” 

“The 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.” 

ATSE CEO Kylie Walker said the support for Elevate from across the STEM community and sectors has been humbling. 

“There is genuine excitement for this program, and its potential to transform the standing of women in STEM careers,” Walker said. 

“Elevate must be designed with partners across the very broad range of Australian sectors that rely on a highly skilled STEM workforce; we’re designing the program to meet Australia’s skills demand by supporting diverse women to pursue tertiary education and careers in STEM, and by propelling them into leadership. 

According to Walker, the Elevate program is built around three pillars: education and impact, skills building, and leadership. 

“The first, Education and Impact, will support scholars to become Australia’s future leaders in STEM research and commercialisation. Second, Skills Building, puts the focus on professional development, mentoring and exposure to the innovation pipeline,” she said. 

“Third – Leadership – will accelerate women’s career trajectories into senior leadership and support them as mentors, board directors, and influencers, stimulating more women-led decision-making throughout the STEM ecosystem.” 

The federal government’s Women in STEM Ambassador, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, has also joined the Advisory Group.  

“The power of this Advisory Group is the broad range of expertise of its members and their profound interest in the issues faced by women in STEM,” Harvey-Smith said. “Their collective vision and focus on solutions will drive real change in STEM disciplines.” 

The Elevate Advisory Group also includes representatives from program partners and includes: 

  • Dr Marlene Kanga AO FTSE and Dr Adi Paterson FTSE – co-chairs; 
  • Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith – Women in STEM Ambassador; 
  • Shanan Gillies – Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources; 
  • Beata Khaidurova – FB Rice; 
  • Scarlet Kong – DMTC; 
  • Dr Morley Muse – Women in STEMM Australia; 
  • Dr Udani Reets – Women in Leadership Development (WILD); 
  • Luke Sheehy – the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN); 
  • Dr Frazer Thorpe – Cooperative Research Australia; 
  • Professor Sumeet Walia – Science & Technology Australia; 
  • Dr Julie Wheway – gemaker; 
  • Sally-Ann Williams – Cicada Innovations; 
  • Jan Mason – chief executive Women; 
  • Kylie Walker – CEO, ATSE; and 
  • Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea – director, STEM Careers Strategy, ATSE. 

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