Ecolinc Victoria’s Emerging STEM for Women — Speed-Daters Needed

The Ecolinc Science and Technology Centre is running another Emerging STEM for Women event on Wednesday 14 June, at their centre in Bacchus Marsh in Melbourne.

The event is already fully booked with ca 90 year 9 and 10 students coming to hear about a range of study and employment opportunities in STEM. A key element of the day is the speed-date event, which runs from 1-2pm. You will meet with a small group of students for about 10 minutes at a time, talking about your study and work experiences before the group rotates off to the “next speed-dater”.

The key-note speaker on this occasion is Colleen Filippa, one of two Victorian women who are involved in the Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica. Homeward Bound is a women’s leadership and climate change research project, in which NYSF alumna Sandra Kerbler is also a participant.

Several NYSF alumna helped out at the Ecolinc event in October last year. Ideally, you will have  tertiary study and work experiences to share.

Ecolinc director Linda Flynn says, “The success of the day is attributed to the many women who are prepared to share their stories with these girls and we truly appreciate the volunteers’ time on the day.  In appreciation, we always provide a yummy lunch prior to the ‘speed dating’ session!”

If you can help out as a speed-dater on 14 June, please contact Linda at, and let her know you are an NYSF alumna!

Braving the cold in the Antarctic – NYSF Alumna Sandra Kerbler

NYSF Alumna Sandra Kerbler is one of 78 women worldwide to be selected to participate in Homeward Bound, a leadership and strategic program for women in science, set against the backdrop of Antarctica.

It feels absolutely amazing to have been selected. It’s a journey of a lifetime and I can’t wait to do what I can to raise awareness of the issues women in science face

Homeward Bound is an Australian initiative developed by leadership expert Fabian Dattner and Dr Jess Melbourne-Thomas from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre. 170 applications were received in the first round and 250 in the second.

“I submitted a two-minute YouTube Video, a three-page resume and cover letter outlining why I should be chosen for the program.”

“It feels absolutely amazing to have been selected. It’s a journey of a lifetime and I can’t wait to do what I can to raise awareness of the issues women in science face. I hope to make a difference too,” she said.

Within her PhD research at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, Sandra investigates how plants are affected by changing temperatures, in particular cold stress. “My studies aim to identify how plants adjust their metabolism in response to changing environmental conditions, with such knowledge contributing to the global effort to produce crop plants that can thrive in future changing climates.”

“As the world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, one of the biggest challenges mankind will face is the ability to feed everyone, which is complicated further by changing environmental conditions,” Sandra said.

The Homeward Bound expedition will focus on building leadership skills, with a parallel focus on the changing environment and how polar science can inform about the health of the planet.

“(Having) women in leadership matters to me because there is still such disparity between men and women in leadership positions,” she said. “By taking part in Homeward Bound I hope to gain the knowledge and skills to change current trends and influence policy and decision-making.”

The first trip, departing Ushuaia, Argentina in December 2016, will seek to significantly elevate how women at the leadership table might provide a more sustainable future, where climate change is used as an example.

Sandra has launched a crowd-funding campaign, together with three other UWA participants, to help raise $25,000 each toward the cost of their journey.

For more information about the Homeward Bound initiative, visit the UWA Crowd Funding Page.