Monash academics recognised in national Superstars of STEM program

Three researchers from the Faculty of Information Technology, the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences have been named among fellow Australian female scientists in the 2021-22 Superstars of STEM program.

Associate Professor Rashina Hoda, Dr Melanie Finch and Dr Erin McGillick are among 60 brilliant women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics who have been chosen for this acclaimed national program.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews today officially announced those chosen for Science & Technology Australia’s prestigious Superstars of STEM program in 2021-22.

Science & Technology Australia Chief Executive Officer Misha Schubert said the program gave women in STEM stronger skills and confidence to step into expert commentary roles in the media.

“It’s hard to be what you can’t see,” she said. “Women are still seriously under-represented in STEM leadership roles. The Superstars of STEM program sets out to smash stereotypes of what a scientist, technologist, engineer or mathematician looks like – these powerful role models show girls that STEM is for them.”

Associate Professor Rashina Hoda, best known for her research in human-centred software engineering, said she was thrilled to have been recognised alongside such a talented group of women in STEM.

“I’m very privileged to be announced as a Superstar of STEM and I’m looking forward to becoming a role model to inspire more girls and women to pursue STEM by increasing the public profile of women in STEM,” said Associate Professor Hoda.

Associate Professor Hoda is an expert in agile software development, software teams and project management, and human-computer interaction, with her work spanning educational game design for 21st century skills and human-centred design for smart energy consumption.

Dr Finch, a lecturer at the School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, is a geologist who specialises in understanding how rocks move, create mountain belts, and earthquakes. Welcoming the announcement Dr Finch said the Superstars of STEM program would provide her with the advanced communication skills needed to describe why her particular area of science was so exciting.

“I want to inspire others to see the world as a geologist does: to look at a rock and understand that it once held up a mountain chain as high as the Himalayas.The Superstars of STEM program will also increase the reach of my gender equity initiatives, including my Women of Earth Science newsletter and a virtual seminar series presented by Australian women Earth and environmental scientists,” Dr Finch said.

Research Scientist, Fetal and Neonatal Health Research Group at Hudson Institute, Dr Erin McGillick, who has a joint appointment with Monash School of Clinical Sciences, is excited to be able to encourage more young women and girls to explore careers in STEM.

“I’m so excited to continue sharing my own research journey and promoting visibility for diversity and inclusion in STEM, so that younger generations can see there are many ways to be a scientist and that STEM is for everyone,” said Dr McGillick.

Dr McGillick’s research is using cutting edge preclinical models and state-of-the-art X-ray imaging techniques to identify how newborn respiratory complications arise and then developing new or improved strategies to assist compromised babies successfully make the transition to air-breathing at birth.

Supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, these next 60 Superstars of STEM will participate in the program in 2021 and 2022.