Dr Eliza Middleton

9106.4 Superstas in STEM – Eliza Middleton Caitlin Forster

Dr Eliza Middleton

Invertebrate ecologist

The University of Sydney


Growing up in the remote deserts of western NSW, I was fascinated by the environment around me from a young age. I yearned to understand the processes of the water table, why birds migrated, and how did ants know their role in the colony? My love of nature was my stepping stone into a STEM career. Learning over 2-way radios on School of the Air with my siblings as my classmates, I know first-hand how limited access and opportunities to pursue education can be.

I moved from the country to the big city to get my undergraduate and honours degree in Marine Science from Macquarie University. Shortly after I returned to the desert, this time Alice Springs to research ants, followed by work at the Queensland Brain Institute on honeybees. I then travelled to Canberra to complete my PhD at The Australian National University, eventually winding up at The University of Sydney as a post-doctoral researcher then manager of the Invertebrate Behaviour and Ecology Lab.

Throughout my journey I have experienced the limitations of remote locations, the diversity of the inner city, and am passionate that education is for everyone, regardless of where you are from or how you identify.