Women in STEM

Women in STEM

The Department of Molecular Sciences in the Faculty of Science and Engineering has an enviable representation of academic women at senior levels (with 46% at professor and associate professor level), which is significantly higher than the Australian universities average (see 2013 and 2014 data from Universities Australia).

Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) is national program run by the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) in partnership with the Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), which promotes gender equity and gender diversity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).

Macquarie University is a charter member of the SAGE pilot of the Athena SWAN Charter in Australia, which is a program designed to support the promotion, hiring, participation and retention of women in STEMM.

The University is currently targeting an Athena SWAN Award at the Institutional Bronze level – once this has been achieved goal, the Department of Molecular Sciences will be eligible to pursue its goal of Departmental level award.

The Department of Molecular Sciences has a Macquarie University Women in Chemistry and Biomolecular Science (MQ WINC) leadership group to support and encourage female ECRs, as well as postgraduate and undergraduate female students. The group is comprised of women academics, staff and students.

Louise Brown  Joanne Jamie  Fei Liu  Bridget Mabbutt

Dr Louise Brown

A/Prof Joanne Jamie Dr Fei Liu A/Prof Bridget Mabbutt
Barbara Messerle  Helena Nevalainen  Nicki Packer  Shoba Ranganathan 

Prof Barbara Messerle

Prof Helena Nevalainen Prof Nicki Packer Prof Shoba Ranganathan
Alison Rodger  Sasha Tetu  Yuling Wang  

Prof Alison Rodger

Dr Sasha Tetu Dr Yuling Wang


Nicki Packer Centre Chief Investigator Prof Nicolle Packer and researcher Dr Annemarie Nadort represented CNBP at the inaugural ‘Women in Life Sciences’ luncheon’, held in Sydney, March 2016.

The event was a celebration of success in the Life Sciences sector with a panel of industry leaders exploring entrepreneurial and leadership opportunities for women.

Discussed were issues relevant to women in the workplace, including targets versus quotas to increase participation rates, as well as  thoughts on what is needed to achieve equality.

Attendees also had the opportunity to network with industry colleagues as well as to share their personal stories, challenges and insights.

A sold-out event, it is expected that the luncheon will become a regular annual fixture.

Professor Nicki Packer, Director of Biomolecular Frontiers Research Centre and The Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics

Inspiring women in Molecular Sciences

Erika Davies Since I was a kid I've found myriad ways to indulge my love of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Back in junior school I declared to my friends that I would study 4 unit mathematics in the HSC and so I did, continuing on to complete a first-class honours degree majoring in pure mathematics in 2003.  This was part of a combined degree program, the other half of which was Software Engineering, which culminated in an honours project on fingerprint verification techniques that I completed in 2006.  At this point I decided that I wanted to go back to the physical sciences, so I enrolled in a chemistry degree with an honours year focusing on measuring diffusion and reaction kinetics by solution-state nuclear magnetic resonance that I completed in 2009.  My performance in these final years won me a scholarship to study for my PhD at the University of Cambridge, where I investigated the mineral component of bone using a combination of solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, powder x-ray crystallography and density functional theory calculations under the supervision of Professor Melinda Duer.  

After a couple of years working in NMR and MRI facilities, in January 2016 I was fortunate enough to join the Department of Molecular Sciences at Macquarie University as Senior Scientific Officer, NMR Facility. This has been a tremendous experience to date; in particular, having the chance to oversee not only the acquisition and installation of cutting edge new hardware, but the refurbishment of the facility itself, has been a fantastic opportunity to learn a wide range of new skills and to experience the full life-cycle of a superconducting magnet.

When I'm not in the laboratory helping our researchers to make the most of these fabulous new bits of kit, I'm either keeping my hand in with my first love by privately teaching mathematics, or I'm up in the sky pursuing my love of aviation!

Dr Erika Davies, Senior Scientific Officer, NMR Facility

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