Postponed to July 29-30, 2021

Keynote Speakers

Prof Sue Thomson

ACER, Australia

STEM participation, achievement & beliefs

Thursday 29 July

Dr Sue Thomson is the Deputy CEO (Research) for the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). Her research is in the area of analysis and reporting of large-scale and longitudinal data sets, with a focus on gender and socioeconomic equity. She provides senior leadership at ACER for about 80 research staff in a range of educational research areas from early childhood to adult education and all points in between.

In her 21 years at ACER Sue has been involved in a wide variety of projects, including as co-investigator on the ARC funded Australian Child Wellbeing Project, and a Chief Investigator for the Science of Learning Research Centre, a Special Initiative of the Australian Research Council. Currently she is the National Project Manager for Australia for the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the National Research Coordinator for the IEA Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the IEA Progress in International reading Literacy (PIRLS), and the International Project Manager for the OECD’s Study on Social and Emotional Skills. She has published widely on findings from these studies, including translational pieces on the outcomes of education and equity issues in the provision of education in Australia.

Keynote abstract: While the 20th century saw women stride ahead in their participation in education and the workforce, there are still gender differences apparent in some areas. In particular, females do not enrol in higher mathematics, science or ICT, or move into STEM-based careers to the same extent as males. For example, while the number of people employed as ICT specialists in the EU grew by 36% during the period from 2007 to 2017 (more than 10 times higher than the corresponding increase of 3.2% for total employment), the proportion of women employed in these fields has stagnated. This presentation will address three broad areas that may hold females back from participation in these subjects in school and in entering STEM careers:

  1. whether men are better at maths, science, ICT than women;
  2. perceived ability self-confidence and self-efficacy; and
  3. cultural beliefs.

Sarah Chapman

Townsville State High School, Australia

The power of partnerships to promote engagement of young people in STEM, international and local perspectives

Thursday 29 July

Sarah Chapman is the Head of Department of Science at Townsville State High School and is in her sixteenth year of teaching. Sarah commits extensive portions of her own time lifting the profile of science education, by working with students, teachers and the broader community. She is the Founder of the Townsville STEM Hub. Sarah is an Executive Committee member of Women in Science Australia, and Director on the Board of Australian Girls ESTEAMME Collaborative, a subsidiary of Global Girls Collaborative, bringing together organisations that are committed to information and encouraging girls in Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and Maker Education.

Keynote abstract: Sarah Chapman was awarded a Barbara Cail STEM International Fellowship in 2016 to research and identify effective and innovative ways for promoting participation of young people, particularly girls, in STEM fields during their education and subsequent careers. In 2017, the report Engaging the Future of STEM, was published. The research included visits to schools, businesses, universities, government departments and communities all over the world, to find out what other OECD countries were doing that was having an impact on the rate of engagement in STEM education. This presentation will focus on best practice for engaging and sustaining young people in STEM, including:

  • understanding an effective STEM ecosystem & the importance of each stakeholder
  • embedding key strategies to engage girls in STEM
  • exploring the key role partnerships play in empowering students in STEM

Prof Mustafa Özbilgin

Brunel Business School, UK

Do atypical leaders legitimise or delegitimise (STEM) workforce diversity?

Thursday 29 July

Mustafa F. Özbilgin is Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Brunel Business School, London. He is also Co-Chaire Management et Diversité at Université Paris Dauphine, as well as Visiting Professor of Management at Koç University in Istanbul. His research focuses on equality, diversity and inclusion at work from comparative and relational perspectives. His empirically grounded field studies in the UK and internationally are supported by international and national grants from the ESRC, EU, CIPD, ACE, ACCA, British Academy among others. His work has a focus on changing policy and practice in equality and diversity at work. He is an engaged scholar, driven by values of workplace democracy, equality for all, and humanisation of work.

He is serving as the editor-in-chief of the European Management Review (EMR), the official journal of the European Academy of Management (EURAM) since 2014. He has authored and edited 18 books and published over 200 papers in academic journals such as the Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Learning and Education, British Journal of Management, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Human Resource Management, Human Relations, Gender Work and Organization, and Social Science and Medicine among others.

He has done research, consultancy and training at a large number of organisations including the House of Commons, Barclays Bank, The Bank West Australia, Halifax, the CIPD, the National Health Service, the NHS Employers, Tesco, the Probation Services, The UK Fire Service, the Economist Research Unit, the OECD, the WRVS, DTI, Rio Tinto, PwC, Linklaters and ACCA. He served as the editor-in-chief of the British Journal of Management, the official journal of the British Academy of Management, for four years from 2010 to 2014, and holds multiple editorial roles.

Keynote abstract: Atypical leaders are those coming from disenfranchised, underrepresented, excluded, and nontraditional sociodemographic backgrounds (Samdanis & Özbilgin, 2019). Women, minority ethnic, working class, LGBTIQ+, young, and disabled leaders are mostly considered atypical in STEM leadership. Because of their often pioneering presence in leadership positions, atypical leaders, such as women leaders in STEM, are often heralded as signs of progress towards wider equality and fair representation. However, change in leadership demography does not automatically translate into leadership support for equality. I explore the curious role atypical leaders play to demonstrate how atypicality presents a dual structure in terms of leadership support for diversity and inclusion at work, and a gradual change in their politics of identity as they join the STEM elite of non-diverse and prototypical backgrounds.

Prof Jacquelynne Eccles

UC-Irvine, USA and ACU

So what have we learned!

Friday 30 July

Jacquelynne S. Eccles is Distinguished Professor of Education at UC-Irvine and formerly the McKeachie/Pintrich Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and Education at the University of Michigan, and Senior Research Scientist and Director of the Gender and Achievement Research Program at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

Over the past 30 years, Professor Eccles has conducted research on topics including gender-role socialization, teacher expectancies, classroom influences on student motivation, and social development in the family and school context. One of the leading developmental scientists of her generation, she has made seminal contributions to the study of achievement-related decisions and development. Most notably, her expectancy-value theory of motivation and her concept of stage-environment have served as perhaps the most dominant models of achievement during the school years, contributing to extensive research and reform efforts to improve the nature of secondary school transitions. Professor Eccles also has been a major figure in the study of after-school activities, authoring a seminal National Research Council report that outlined the most effective ways for such activities to meet the developmental needs of adolescents.

Keynote abstract: Professor Eccles will recap the highlights of what she and her colleagues have learned about both the Eccles et al. Expectancy-Value Theory of Achievement-Related Choices, and Engagement and Gendered STEM Educational and Occupational Choices, over the last 40 years. She will:

  1. Critique the continuing stereotypical research narratives about female versus male participation in “STEM”, including what should be included in the category of STEM and the extent to which that very definition of STEM shapes the stereotypes we hold about how gendered STEM professions are.
  2. Provide an overview of the shift from EEVT to SEVT (the Eccles et al. Expectancy-Value Theory, to the Situated Expectancy-Value Theory) as it relates to STEM in particular.
  3. Suggest important next steps for both research and policy-making related to gender and STEM.

Prof Ana Deletic

QUT, Australia

Women in engineering in academia: Are we there yet?

Friday 30 July

Professor Ana Deletic is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane Queensland (QUT). Until February 2021 Ana was the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of New South Wales, Sydney (UNSW). Prior to that, until mid-2017 Ana was Associate Dean of Research Engineering Faculty and the Founding Director of Monash Infrastructure research institute at Monash University. Ana is also an urban water researcher, focusing on stormwater management and socio-technical modelling. She led the development of a number of green nature-based water treatment systems which are now widely adopted in Australia and abroad.

Ana is an Honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia, a Fellow of Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), and Editor of Water Research. In 2012, the Victorian State Government awarded Ana the Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation (Physical Sciences) for her lifelong achievements in stormwater research.

Keynote abstract: The participation of women in engineering practice is one of the lowest of all the professions. This is mirrored by the low participation of women in undergraduate and postgraduate engineering studies, but it is particularly evident in the teaching and research staff of engineering faculties at universities across Australia. This talk will outline the key issues that result in low rates for women lecturers and researchers, discuss why we are still facing this problem, and propose some actions that can help us to overcome barriers to greater participation.

Invited Panel: 'Superstars of STEM'

A beginner's guide to STEM Superstardom
Friday 30 July

What does it take to be a Superstar of STEM? Hear from some of Science & Technology Australia's Superstars of STEM as they explore the challenges, opportunities and triumphs of building a growing public profile as a woman in STEM. In a Q&A-style discussion moderated by the program's creator, the Superstars will talk about why deliberate visibility is important, and share advice for aspiring stars, employers and allies, on how to work meaningfully towards equal representation of women and men on the STEM stage.

Chair &

Ms Kylie Walker


Kylie is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, where she works with expert Fellows to lead crucial national conversations and strategy towards a thriving, healthy and connected Australia supported by technology.

She specialises in connecting technologists, engineers and scientists with governments, business, media and society skills built over many years in senior federal communication and advocacy roles in the science, technology and health sectors.

As the immediate past CEO of Science & Technology Australia, Kylie led campaigns to increase investment in Australian research and development, and created the acclaimed Superstars of STEM program, championing Australian women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Kylie is also a visiting Fellow at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science. She was Chair of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO and in 2019, she was named in the 100 Women of Influence list by the Australian Financial Review, for her work on improving equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM.


Dr Kalinda Griffiths


Kalinda is a Yawuru woman of Broome, born and living in Darwin, Australia. She is an early career Scientia Lecturer at the Centre for Big Data Research in Health at UNSW. Kalinda also holds honorary fellowships at Menzies School of Health Research as well as the University of Melbourne and is Deputy Editor of the Health Promotion Journal of Australia.

As an epidemiologist, her work addresses complex health disparities in populations through the use of existing data. Kalinda's research focuses on Indigenous Data Governance and the measurement of health disparities with a particular interest in improving health services and disease outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as building health research capabilities in regional and remote Australia.

She is on the steering committee for the Indigenous Data Network in Australia and holds a number of national and international committee roles, including in the Cancer Council Australia Health Services Research Group and the International Group for Indigenous Health Measurement.

Kalinda is the recipient of a number of awards. Notably, she was awarded the Northern Territory Young Australian of the Year in 2011 and more recently, the 2019 Lowitja Institutes Emerging Researcher Award. She was also a 2019-2021 Science and Technology Australia Superstar of STEM and is currently the Australian Health Promotion Associations Thinker in Residence.

Dr Melanie Macgregor


Dr Melanie Macgregor is an ARC Future Fellow at the University of South Australia's Future Industries Institute. She obtained a Master of Chemical Engineering in France before moving to Australia and completing a PhD in Minerals and Material Engineering in 2013.

She works on industry-driven translational research in close partnership with end users, clinicians, industry and academics from complimentary disciplines. Her research focus is the interaction between (bio) materials and their environment, primarily to address challenges faced by the biomedical and energy industries. Melanie has, for instance, worked on developing medical devices for non-invasive cancer diagnostic.

The quality of her research and innovation have been recognised through several awards, including the 2016 Engineers Australia John A. Brodie Medal for achievement in Chemical Engineering, the 2017 Winnovation awards in the Engineering category, and a 2018 SA Young Tall Poppy Science Award.

In 2019, she joined the SuperStar of STEM program hosted by Science Technology Australia. As a mum of two, Melanie is eager to promote STEM careers to the younger generations and devoted to help reform workplaces to better support primary carers. Her community engagement extends through participation to public events such as Science Alive! or For the love of Science, media interview, and the organisation lab tour and on-site visits for schools.

Dr Madeline Mitchell


Dr Madeline Mitchell is a plant scientist interested in the economic, social and environmental sustainability of agriculture. She works at RMIT University and the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre where she manages a research program to better understand the value of natural capital in farming systems. The program aims to support farmers to manage their natural capital (e.g. plants and animals, soil and water) for sustainability, profitability and climate resilience.

Madeline has a PhD from the University of Cambridge where she contributed to an international collaboration to increase crop yields by reengineering photosynthesis. She joined CSIRO in 2015 as a postdoctoral fellow and helped develop novel vegetable oil crops, which are now in field trials. She then led a synthetic biology project to enhance cotton fibre properties to make renewable and biodegradable alternatives to artificial fibres.

Madeline enjoys mentoring and connecting with the next generation of scientists. She has been a tutor and demonstrator in settings ranging from university practical classes and residential colleges to a homework club for disadvantaged students. She was part of the second cohort of Homeward Bound, a global leadership initiative for women in STEM, and in 2019 she received an ACT Young Tall Poppy Award. &

Dr Katie Sizeland


Dr Katie Sizeland is a Strategic Projects Leader at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, ANSTO ( She is passionate about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) focused on innovative solutions to industry problems and ensuring that STEM can have a real impact, creating a better future for everyone and the world we live in.

Katie has a strong track record developing the interface between research and industry with 8 years’ experience across science, innovation, and strategic program management roles with a focus on medical and agricultural industries. Katie holds a PhD in Engineering and a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering and Nanotechnology (Honours) both from Massey University in New Zealand.

Katie is passionate about science communication and inspiring the next generation in STEM. She has coached and mentored secondary school students and undergraduate students through the Australian Science Innovations program ‘Curious Minds’ and the AINSE ‘Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE)’ program.

Katie was a 2019-2020 Science and Technology Australia ‘Superstar of STEM’ and a 2020 NSW Young Tall Poppy. In 2019, Katie was selected for the fourth Homeward Bound cohort, a global leadership program for women in STEMM, and she received an Australian Academy of Science Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Fellowship (a Science and Industry Endowment Fund).

Gender and STEM Network
The University of Sydney
National Expert Organisation on Girls/Women and Science/Technology