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When female leaders are the norm, not the exception

8 April 2021
Dr Melanie Farrier was presented the 2020 Early Career Alumni Award for her significant contribution to the scientific community

Dr Melanie Farrier had a busy 2020, finishing her PhD, leading a combat engineering team through Defence Operation Bushfire Assist, and becoming a Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) Gender Equity and SAGE Manager.

Topping off an already great year, Flinders University presented Melanie with its 2020 Early Career Alumni Award for her significant contribution to the scientific community through research, advocacy, and promoting equity within the STEM community.

Inspired as a high-school student by a Flinders University presentation about nanotechnology, Dr Farrier (BSc(Hons) '16, PhD(Chem) '20) embraced a new field of science in her degree. Throughout her time at university, Melanie was an outreach officer for the student science club and a keen member of the STEM: Women Branching Out group which supports the university’s female higher degree research students.

Now, within the Department of Defence, she has created an Implementation Team made up of STEM professionals and corporate staff working towards achieving DSTG’s gender equity goals.

“The resources we have put together will assist everyone, not only Defence, we are helping to change the culture around how we speak and think about women in science,” said Dr Farrier.

"We are at a turning point regarding gender equity in STEM throughout Australia – I am excited to see many more women given the opportunity to be leaders in this sector. We will know we have succeeded in gender equity in STEM when it is no longer unusual or exciting to have a female leading a team."

For Melanie, this award has renewed her drive to keep pushing for equity in STEM, to see change happen now for a more equitable future.

Read more about Dr Farrier's experience at Flinders University. For a list of the 2020 Alumni Award recipients click here.