We need more female engineers in Australia, especially with research showing that roughly 20% of those graduating with degrees in engineering are women and female engineers continue to face discrimination in the workplace.
As such, we want to highlight some excellent women to watch in this field. They’re achieving groundbreaking work and becoming role models for more girls and women to pursue great careers in engineering.
This list is just a start. If you know more women who should be on the list, get in contact with Jessie Tu.
Christine Chen, senior systems engineer, Thales Australia
Field: Electrical Engineering
Among her long list of accolades, Christine was named Sydney Young Engineer of the Year from Engineers Australia, NSW Young Achiever Award from the Australian Industry & Defence Network (AIDN), and the Young Alumna Award from the University of Sydney Engineering & IT. She was Director of Valsch Dynamic Mechatronics, a start-up that provided engineering solutions across the transportation sector and is currently working on building systems that integrate radios with computers.
Mahshid Firouzi, chemical engineer, University of Queensland
Field: Chemical Engineering
Improving the state of our energy sources and environmental wellbeing takes strong leadership and experimental innovation. Mahshid is a research fellow at the University of Queensland and implements mathematical modelling and data analytics to improve production efficiency.
Kiarna Broomhead, engineering student, Griffith University
Field: Electronic Engineering
Kiarna is the only Indigenous woman in her university enrolled in the undergraduate engineering program at Griffith University’s Gold Coast Campus. She volunteers with the School of Engineering and Built Environment and the STEM Ambassador Program. Kiarna is a vital member of the Women in Engineering Society, where she helps run outreach activities at schools to teach young girls about engineering.
Hala Zreiqat, biomaterials and tissue engineer, Sydney University
Hala is a professor of Biomedical Engineering at Sydney University and a past Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University. She is developing synthetic bone substitute in the form of ceramic materials for people with degenerative bone conditions.
Nasim Amiralian, nanotechnologist, University of Queensland
During her PhD at the University of Queensland, Nasim discovered a unique quality from an Australian native grass species to reduce the impact of nanotechnological materials on the environment. Her expansion of disciplines spanning across material and textile engineering is creating new and exciting collaborations between Indigenous Australians and industry.
Sabina Shugg, Director, Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub
Sabina’s career began in the gold mines of Kalgoorlie several decades ago where she worked as a field assistant. Since then, she has been named one of AFR Westpac 100 Women of Influence. In 2003, she founded the Women in Mining and Resources (WIMWA) and continues to mentor younger women in mining and rural management.
Wenny Rahayu, Head of the School of Engineering and Mathematical Science, La Trobe
Field: Mathematical science
Wenny has been chief investigator for the Australian Research Council on more than three projects in the last decade. She has partnered with researchers and engineers across the globe in the field of data management and integration from a range of sources. She works with aviation industry as well as disaster management systems.
Michelle Verco, civil engineer, Mace Engineering Services
Field: Rural civil engineering
An engineer’s task is ultimately to improve the quality of life for all, and Michelle’s background and experiences in overseeing the designing, constructing and operation of infrastructures in Clare, SA brings to light this goal. Earlier this year, she was nominated as a finalist for the state’s Rural Women’s Award for her tireless work in innovative rural engineering.
Monika Balicki, water engineer and founder, Water Modelling Solutions
Field: Environmental Engineering
Specialising in hydrology and flood studies, Monika studied environmental engineering in Denmark before immigrating to Australia where she founded her own water management company. She is implementing her knowledge and skills to improve designs in water systems, and developing more flood mapping accuracy.
Flavia Tata Nardini, space engineer and CEO, Fleet Space Technologies
Field: Space Engineering
Initially trained as a rocket scientist, Flavia’s skills and knowledge have expanded across industries and sectors. She holds a prominent media presence, having spoken at TED events and presented information on panels in Australia and overseas. Her company aims to create an efficient system of Internet of Things and connect the world and its technologies in ethical and inclusive ways.
Divya Jindal, aeronautical engineer, Optus Satellite
Field: Space and Aeronautics
Since graduating with First Class honours from the University of NSW, Divya has worked on more than seven satellites and continues to monitor their operations at Optus. She is a fierce advocate for more women in engineering and hopes to increase the membership and participation of women in space research here in Australia.
Marita Cheng, roboticist and founder, Robogals and Aipoly
Field: Robotics and education
Reading Marita’s astonishing achievements in her short career is an exercise in patience and in getting inspired! At the age of 22, she was named Young Australian of the Year and has since founded two companies: one assisting blind and visually impaired people through a mobile app, the other encouraging young girls to take up robotics and engineering in school. No doubt, we will see her new inventions changing the world in the next few years.
Lee-Anne Sylva, Senior Process Engineer, GHD Group
Field: Water engineering
In 2012, Lee-Anne was a finalist in the NSW Australian Water Association Young Professional of the Year. Three years later, she was awarded the Maria Skyllas-Kazacos Young Professional Award for Outstanding Achievement from the University of NSW, an award that allowed her the opportunity to promote engineering to high-school aged female students. She now works at the engineering firm GHD Group, specialising in water and wastewater initiatives.