STA welcomes top STEM leaders to committees

Science & Technology Australia enthusiastically welcomes the appointments of pre-eminent science and research leaders to its sector-leading STEM Sector Policy Committee and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Two rows of portrait circles on a dark navy blue background. Top row has four circles, bottom row has three circles. Each circle includes a photo of the STEM leaders that are the new and reappointed STA policy and EDI committee members listed in the accompanyin news item.

“We are delighted to welcome our new and returning committee members and warmly congratulate them,” said STA President Professor Mark Hutchinson.

“They bring vast experience, specialised knowledge, and drive to contribute to STA’s leadership role for Australia’s STEM sector.”

“These strategic committees play a crucial role in shaping STA’s policy advocacy and advancing our sector-leading work on equity, diversity, and inclusion. The contributions of these exceptional leaders further enhance STA’s influential advocacy,” said STA CEO Misha Schubert.

“These committees not only represent the voice of the STEM sector but also draw on the wide range of expertise and perspectives in STA’s membership. We are thrilled to see such a diverse cross-section of accomplished leaders stepping up to serve our community.”

STA’s agenda-setting STEM Sector Policy Committee welcomes four new members: Superstar of STEM and statistician Melissa Humphries associated with the Statistical Society of Australia; Professor of Astrophysics Richard de Grijs, member of the Astronomical Society of Australia, Associate Professor and Superstar of STEM Dr Parwinder Kaur of the Genetics Society of Australasia, and Superstar of STEM and Associate Professor Dr Kalinda Griffiths of Statistical Society of Australia.

Three skilled diversity and inclusion champions will join or rejoin STA’s skilled Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. We welcome Dr Katrina Wruck, a proud Mabuigilaig and Goemulgal woman and postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Melbourne, and Dr Morley Muse co-founder and director of iSTEM Co. We’re also pleased to welcome for a second term Superstar of STEM and research fellow in clinical health sciences Dr Erin McGillick of Reproductive Health Australia. Katrina, Morley and Erin are also associated with STA member organisation Women In STEMM Australia.

STA sincerely thanks our outgoing Policy & EDI Committee members for their valuable contributions to STA’s respected policy thinking and analysis. We thank Dr Susanna Cramb of the Statistical Society of Australia, Dr Tara Roberson of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems, Professor Adrian Barnett of the Statistical Society of Australia, Dr Andrew Black of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI), Dr Maggie Evans-Galea of Women In STEMM Australia and Dr Bek Christensen of the Ecological Society of Australia. We’re deeply grateful for the time, expertise and skill they have invested in Science & Technology Australia and our members.

Meet the new Science & Technology Australia committee members

STA STEM-sector Policy Committee

Melissa Humphries

Senior Lecturer, University of Adelaide

STA member organisation: Statistical Society of Australia

Dr Melissa Humphries is a teaching and research statistician who creates and applies analytical tools to make sense of the world. Melissa is an award-winning teacher drawing together Bayesian learning (building on prior learning) and student-as-partner methodology (co-creator of knowledge) to deliver innovative pedagogical practice that drives results. As a community-minded STEM leader, Melissa has held numerous roles on boards and committees, including the industry and discipline advisory board, outreach committee, teaching innovation committee and various conference committees at the University of Adelaide. Melissa has contributed significantly to the Australian mathematical community through grant and mentorship committee work. As an early-career researcher representative, Melissa achieved her broadest impact by steering the committee response to an ICAC investigation. Subsequently, this led to her becoming a member of the Transforming Culture Implementation Taskforce tasked with advising on policies and guidelines to promote integrity and transparency within the University of Adelaide. Melissa is an STA Superstar of STEM among our current cohort.

Parwinder Kaur

Associate Professor, University of Western Australia

STA member organisation: Genetics Society of Australasia

Dr Parwinder Kaur is an inspiring STEM leader with vast experience leading cross-disciplinary research for innovation and research translation – both as an academic and entrepreneur. Parwinder strongly desires to help solve global problems – biodiversity loss, climate change, and feeding the future with fast-depleting natural resources – using science and innovation. As a leader in genome sequencing, translational genomics and capacity building in international agricultural and environmental biotechnology, Parwinder is well-placed to provide strategic policy advice. Parwinder has provided leadership to several initiatives in the Genetics and Biotechnology discipline by serving as ambassador/chair for several committees, editorial boards, funding organisations and advisory boards, including as a board member for the Genetics Society of Australasia, the National Steering Committee member for Genome Alliance in Australasia, and Director and board member of ExPlanta Pty Ltd. Parwinder was recently appointed as a panel member for the Pathway to Diversity in STEM Review by the Office of the Hon Ed Husic MP, Minister for Industry and Science, Australia. Parwinder is a Superstar of STEM from our 2021 cohort.

Richard de Grijs

Professor, Macquarie University

STA member organisation: Astronomical Society of Australia

Professor Richard de Grijs is an experienced strategic STEM leader in Australia and abroad. Richard has a firm conviction in pursuing evidence-based policy, which he believes is crucial for our nation’s future. Richard is a Professor of Astronomy at Macquarie University and Executive Director at the International Space Science Institute – Beijing. Richard has held leadership positions globally, including Associate Dean (Global Engagement) in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Macquarie University and various roles from Associate to Division President at the International Astronomical Union, providing strategic input into scientific and policy initiatives and programs. Richard recently chaired the Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2022 (CAP2022) conference.

Kalinda Griffiths

Director, Poche SA+NT at Flinders University

STA member organisation: Statistical Society of Australia

Dr Kalinda Griffiths is the Director of Poche SA+NT, Flinders University’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research centre. Kalinda has held committee roles at the community, organisational and government levels, providing expert insights, valuable perspectives, and strategic advice in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and well-being, education and training, and equitable access to healthcare services. Most recently, Kalinda has held roles as a nominated committee member of the National Data Advisory Council of the Office of the National Data Commissioner and as a member of the NHMRC’s Principle Committee Indigenous Caucus, providing her expertise on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data governance, and on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. At the heart of Kalinda’s work and research is to foster collaboration and ensure that science and technology are effectively translated into policies that drive societal progress and address the challenges of our time. Kalinda is an epidemiologist with over 20 years of experience researching cancer, working with big data in health, measuring health disparities and improving health outcomes, and building research capabilities in regional and remote Australia. Kalinda is a Yawuru woman of Broome, born and living in Darwin, and a Superstar of STEM from the 2019 cohort.

STA STEM-sector Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Katrina Wruck

Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

STA member organisation: Women in STEMM Australia

Dr Katrina Wruck is a proud Mabuigilaig and Goemulgal woman with ancestral roots in the saltwater people of Mabuiag Island in the Torres Strait Islands. Katrina is a passionate STEM advocate actively involved in teaching, mentoring, community and public engagement. Katrina was awarded the Judges’ Award at the 2022 Queensland Women in STEM Prize for her contributions to chemistry and outreach. Katrina has vast experience contributing to committees and working groups across the STEM and higher education sectors. She has broad expertise in advocacy and engagement to inform policy and drive change through connection with industry. Throughout her scientific career, Katrina has worked on varied research with solid environmental remediation potential and commercialisation scope. During her PhD studies, she developed a novel method that transforms mining waste into environmentally friendly laundry detergent based on green chemistry fundamentals. In her current role, her work focuses on the destruction of ‘forever chemicals’ – per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – using an innovative, cost-effective, and energy-efficient electrochemical method.

Morley Muse

Co-founder and Director of iSTEM Co.

STA member organisation: Women in STEMM Australia

Dr Morley Muse is a passionate advocate and inspiring leader within the Australian STEM ecosystem. Morley is a committed STEM community member who strives to support programs, initiatives and organisations to reflect the true diversity of society. As a migrant woman of colour, she brings her experiences and perspectives to all her work. Morley won the 2022 Women’s Agenda Awards for the Emerging Leader in STEM award and was a 2022 Victoria University Alumni Awards Rising Star finalist. Morley is a co-founder and director of iSTEM Co., a research, consulting and talent-sourcing company that actively enables the employment of women in Australia’s STEM organisations, including women of colour and women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds in STEM, as research shows over four times higher unemployment rates for Australian women born overseas. Morley is a member of the board of directors of Women in STEMM Australia, an advisory group member for ATSE’s Elevate: Boosting Women in STEM program, and a RISE expert panel member at the Diversity Council of Australia. Morley is a former CSIRO Innovation Catalyst Global ambassador, championing the ‘Find Her’ tool, which connects female STEM academics to industry partners.

Erin McGillick

Program Coordinator for the Defence Science & Technology Group

STA member organisation: Women in STEMM Australia

Dr Erin McGillick has led diversity and inclusion initiatives at the institutional and national levels and won the 2020 QueersInScience Scott Johnson Memorial Award for her contribution to LGBT+ advocacy in STEM. Erin hopes sharing her journey can inspire the next generation to see that STEM is for everyone and that no matter what you do – be passionate, be brave and be you. Erin strives to increase awareness of barriers and implement practical strategies to drive sustained and meaningful change through education and allyship in work on EDI initiatives. Erin has won national and international presentation awards, an Australian Institute of Policy award and a Science Young Tall Poppy award. As a director of the Australian Society for Medical Research, Erin focuses on public, political and scientific advocacy. Erin is a trained medical scientist with over ten years of experience researching how pregnancy complications affect a baby’s lung development and identifying how newborn breathing problems occur. Using this new knowledge, she works with a team of physiologists, physicists and clinicians to give all babies the best possible start to life. Erin is a program coordinator in Defence Science & Technology, working to build and support a diverse and inclusive environment for early career STEM professionals. Erin is an STA Superstar of STEM from our 2021 cohort.

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