Science & Technology Australia is delighted to congratulate 12 brilliant and diverse emerging STEM leaders on winning prestigious scholarships for Science meets Parliament 2022.
These highly contested scholarships were awarded in six categories this year – First Nations, LGBTIQA+, Rural and Remote, Disability, Neurodivergent and Technology.
The scholarships are generously sponsored by the Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering, the Australian Technology Network of Universities, the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS), UNSW Sydney, CropLife Australia, and New Edge Microbials.
The scholarship judges said it was incredibly hard to select from an exceptional field – and commended all applicants on their STEM leadership.
These scholarships enable participation from a diverse cohort of emerging STEM leaders across Australia, reflecting STA’s leadership as a champion of equity, diversity and inclusion.
The scholarships include access to the full Science meets Parliament event program from February 28, a meeting with a Parliamentarian, and the national gala dinner on June 2.
This year’s inspiring First Nations Scholarship winners are India Shackleford and Susan Beetson. First Nations scholarships are sponsored by the Australian Academy of Science and EQUS – the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems.
Ms. Shackleford is a Ngarrindjeri and Kaurna woman and PhD candidate passionate about improving access to health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She is researching the synthesis of new cancer treatment drugs by inhibiting gateways that enable the growth of cancer cells.
Ms. Beetson is a Ngemba and Wiradjuri woman and PhD candidate researching Aboriginal design methods in computing, and the role of technology in improving Indigenous lives. She is passionate about decolonising Indigenous knowledge collection, and finding ways to use technology to continue ancestral knowledge, and consolidate contemporary knowledge.
Dr Maria del Rocio Camacho Morales is our outstanding recipient of our new Neurodiverse Scholarship, generously sponsored by UNSW Sydney.
Dr Camacho Morales is a Physics Postdoctoral Fellow in nanophotonics, and was part of a team that designed a nano crystal 500 times smaller than a human hair which can be used to create light-weight night-vision glasses.
Our Rural and Remote Scholarships are awarded to STEM professionals living 150km or more from Australia’s major cities. Dr Peter Harris and Mr Thiruchenduran Somasundaram have been awarded scholarships sponsored by CropLife Australia and New Edge Microbials. Dr Stephanie Godrich has been awarded a Rural and Remote Scholarship sponsored by New Edge Microbials.
Dr Harris works with councils in regional Australia to divert organic waste from landfill, and has delivered energy and sustainability projects in the Pacific and South-East Asia. He has also worked on emissions monitoring in Germany and Australia and co-authored technical reports for the International Energy Agency.
Dr Godrich is a senior lecturer at Edith Cowan University, specialising in food insecurity and diet quality in Australia. She is researching ways to improve food security and has analysed the impact of COVID-19 on local food supply chains.
Mr Somasundaram is pursuing his PhD in climate smart agriculture, particularly using seaweed to boost nutrition in feedstock in the iconic dairy industry in western Victoria. He has represented Sri Lanka in food safety and nutrition workshops in Rome and Bergen, and is excited by finding local solutions to global problems.
This year we are delighted to award two Disability Scholarships. Isabel Warner and Jerusha Mather are each awarded scholarships sponsored by UNSW Sydney.
Isabel Warner’s research includes targeted drug development to combat common infections in a post-antibiotic world. She seeks to understand the diversity of genes to target drug development in various E. coli strains. She’s also passionate about science diplomacy and accessibility for people with disabilities.
Jerusha Mathers is a PhD student looking at the barriers to exercise in adults with cerebral palsy. She is Australia’s first female PhD student in the medical sciences with a lived experience of cerebral palsy. She aims to create positive change for students with disabilities keen to pursue a career in STEM, and she is working with the Australian Medical Association to change selection criteria for prospective medical students with disabilities.
Our Technology Scholarships are awarded to Dr Jodie Avery and Dr Dana McKay, two incredible STEM experts. The technology scholarships are generously sponsored by the Australian Technology Network of Universities and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.
Dr Avery is a Senior Research Fellow and Program Manager working to make endometriosis treatments cheaper, less invasive and more accessible. Dr. Avery also researches the mental and wider health effects on people living with chronic reproductive health conditions.
Dr Dana McKay is a Senior Lecturer in Innovative Interactive Technologies at RMIT with a deep research interest in how technology is misused in family violence. She is working on three major projects looking at the role of technology in how views are formed and changed, intimate partner violence, and systems for browsing information.
Our LGBTQIA+ Scholarships in 2022 are awarded to Dr Monica Cations and Yohaann Jafrani. These scholarships are fabulously sponsored by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS).
Dr Monica Cations is a Senior Research Fellow at Flinders University working to improve mental health service delivery in aged-care. She is a clinical psychology registrar and epidemiologist working to maximise the accessibility, quality and safety of care for older Australians, and is the founder and co-chair in SA of Queers in Science.
Yohaann Jafrani is a PhD Candidate at the Mater Research Institute in Queensland, working on new techniques to understand how genes expression and DNA accessibility change over time. Developing such techniques could reveal epigenetic changes leading to cell development, differentiation, and disease progression. This research could have profound implications to understand, manage and treat genetic conditions.
STA warmly congratulates all scholarship recipients – and we can’t wait to see you at Science Meets Parliament 2022.