Jess Melbourne-Thomas, Superstar of STEM

Dr Jess Melbourne-Thomas

Research Scientist

Australian Antarctic Division

Dr Jess Melbourne-Thomas is a Research Scientist with the Australian Antarctic Division and a Project Leader with the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre.

In a nutshell, Jess is a dreadlocked scuba diver, maths nerd, mum and true blue Tassie girl who is passionate about marine science, women in STEM and science communication.

In her work, she uses mathematical models of marine ecosystems to understand how these systems function and how they might respond to climate change and other human activities. She is highly engaged in the translation of science into decision-making.

Jess was awarded her PhD in Quantitative Marine Science from UTAS in 2010. She was a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford from 2003-2005.

Jess is passionate about encouraging greater representation of women in science leadership, and is the co-founder of the Homeward Bound project which took 78 women with a background in science on a leadership journey to Antarctica in 2016. Homeward Bound has been profiled by the BBC, CNN, the New York Times and in Marie Claire amongst others. Jess is also the cofounder of the Women in Polar Science (WiPS) network, which currently comprises over 2500 members from around the globe.

Jess was named Tasmania's Young Tall Poppy of the Year in 2015 for her excellence in research, science communication and policy engagement. She is a co-presenter of the successful MOOC on Marine and Antarctic Science, which has engaged over 17,000 students.

Jess was a finalist in the Womens’ Agenda leadership awards for 2017, and was one of twelve women scientists to have her portrait featured as a constellation on the ceiling of New York’s Grand Central station, as part of GE’s Balance the Equation campaign.