Feature Panelists 2020/2021

A beginner's guide to STEM Superstardom
Friday 30 July

What does it take to be a Superstar of STEM? Hear from some of Science & Technology Australia's Superstars of STEM as they explore the challenges, opportunities and triumphs of building a growing public profile as a woman in STEM. In a Q&A-style discussion moderated by the program's creator, the Superstars will talk about why deliberate visibility is important, and share advice for aspiring stars, employers and allies, on how to work meaningfully towards equal representation of women and men on the STEM stage.

Chair & Moderator

Ms Kylie Walker

Kylie is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, where she works with expert Fellows to lead crucial national conversations and strategy towards a thriving, healthy and connected Australia supported by technology.

She specialises in connecting technologists, engineers and scientists with governments, business, media and society skills built over many years in senior federal communication and advocacy roles in the science, technology and health sectors.

As the immediate past CEO of Science & Technology Australia, Kylie led campaigns to increase investment in Australian research and development, and created the acclaimed Superstars of STEM program, championing Australian women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Kylie is also a visiting Fellow at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science. She was Chair of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO and in 2019, she was named in the 100 Women of Influence list by the Australian Financial Review, for her work on improving equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM.


Dr Kalinda Griffiths

Kalinda is a Yawuru woman of Broome, born and living in Darwin, Australia. She is an early career Scientia Lecturer at the Centre for Big Data Research in Health at UNSW. Kalinda also holds honorary fellowships at Menzies School of Health Research as well as the University of Melbourne and is Deputy Editor of the Health Promotion Journal of Australia.

As an epidemiologist, her work addresses complex health disparities in populations through the use of existing data. Kalinda's research focuses on Indigenous Data Governance and the measurement of health disparities with a particular interest in improving health services and disease outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as building health research capabilities in regional and remote Australia.

She is on the steering committee for the Indigenous Data Network in Australia and holds a number of national and international committee roles, including in the Cancer Council Australia Health Services Research Group and the International Group for Indigenous Health Measurement.

Kalinda is the recipient of a number of awards. Notably, she was awarded the Northern Territory Young Australian of the Year in 2011 and more recently, the 2019 Lowitja Institutes Emerging Researcher Award. She was also a 2019-2021 Science and Technology Australia Superstar of STEM and is currently the Australian Health Promotion Associations Thinker in Residence.

Dr Melanie Macgregor

Dr Melanie Macgregor is an ARC Future Fellow at the University of South Australia's Future Industries Institute. She obtained a Master of Chemical Engineering in France before moving to Australia and completing a PhD in Minerals and Material Engineering in 2013.

She works on industry-driven translational research in close partnership with end users, clinicians, industry and academics from complimentary disciplines. Her research focus is the interaction between (bio) materials and their environment, primarily to address challenges faced by the biomedical and energy industries. Melanie has, for instance, worked on developing medical devices for non-invasive cancer diagnostic.

The quality of her research and innovation have been recognised through several awards, including the 2016 Engineers Australia John A. Brodie Medal for achievement in Chemical Engineering, the 2017 Winnovation awards in the Engineering category, and a 2018 SA Young Tall Poppy Science Award.

In 2019, she joined the SuperStar of STEM program hosted by Science Technology Australia. As a mum of two, Melanie is eager to promote STEM careers to the younger generations and devoted to help reform workplaces to better support primary carers. Her community engagement extends through participation to public events such as Science Alive! or For the love of Science, media interview, and the organisation lab tour and on-site visits for schools.

Dr Madeline Mitchell

Dr Madeline Mitchell is a plant scientist interested in the economic, social and environmental sustainability of agriculture. She works at RMIT University and the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre where she manages a research program to better understand the value of natural capital in farming systems. The program aims to support farmers to manage their natural capital (e.g. plants and animals, soil and water) for sustainability, profitability and climate resilience.

Madeline has a PhD from the University of Cambridge where she contributed to an international collaboration to increase crop yields by reengineering photosynthesis. She joined CSIRO in 2015 as a postdoctoral fellow and helped develop novel vegetable oil crops, which are now in field trials. She then led a synthetic biology project to enhance cotton fibre properties to make renewable and biodegradable alternatives to artificial fibres.

Madeline enjoys mentoring and connecting with the next generation of scientists. She has been a tutor and demonstrator in settings ranging from university practical classes and residential colleges to a homework club for disadvantaged students. She was part of the second cohort of Homeward Bound, a global leadership initiative for women in STEM, and in 2019 she received an ACT Young Tall Poppy Award.

Dr Katie Sizeland

Dr Katie Sizeland is a Strategic Projects Leader at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, ANSTO (www.ansto.gov.au). She is passionate about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) focused on innovative solutions to industry problems and ensuring that STEM can have a real impact, creating a better future for everyone and the world we live in.

Katie has a strong track record developing the interface between research and industry with 8 years’ experience across science, innovation, and strategic program management roles with a focus on medical and agricultural industries. Katie holds a PhD in Engineering and a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering and Nanotechnology (Honours) both from Massey University in New Zealand.

Katie is passionate about science communication and inspiring the next generation in STEM. She has coached and mentored secondary school students and undergraduate students through the Australian Science Innovations program ‘Curious Minds’ and the AINSE ‘Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE)’ program.

Katie was a 2019-2020 Science and Technology Australia ‘Superstar of STEM’ and a 2020 NSW Young Tall Poppy. In 2019, Katie was selected for the fourth Homeward Bound cohort, a global leadership program for women in STEMM, and she received an Australian Academy of Science Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Fellowship (a Science and Industry Endowment Fund).