In conversation with the successful Chloe Munro Scholarship 2021 recipients, who will all be undertaking a leadership course delivered by Education Provider, Women & Leadership Australia.
Tell us a bit about yourself personally and professionally
I am a Research Scientist at CSIRO Manufacturing, working on lithium batteries. My time is devoted to project leadership, performing experimental work, lab management and supervising post-grad students and post-doctoral researchers. I am honoured to see that my research achievements have been recognised through a number of awards such as 2021 Victoria Fellowship in Physical Sciences and 2020 L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship.
As a nature-lover I spend a lot of my free-time enjoying the beauty of nature by hiking and camping. I can say that traveling is one of my main hobbies, to go and explore new places and learn from different cultures. Well, my e-book reader has been travelling with me too!
What was your pathway into the renewable energy industry?
I am fortunate to work in this important area. I have chemistry background and started my research on lithium batteries since 2012 when my PhD commenced which was a turning point for my future career. I was enjoying my research very much and decided to continue my career in the same field. Today, my research, in collaboration with both academia and industry, focuses on different aspects of lithium batteries from materials to devices. This has allowed me to support research-industry collaboration in Australia and assist the local industry in developing and adopting next generation technologies towards green energy.
What leadership impact do you hope to make with the scholarship?
The scholarship (for Leading Edge Training Program) will equip participants with skills to become more confident. I believe this opportunity will help me building my own leadership style. I am willing to support diversity within my working environment at all levels- not just gender equity. A successful team would allow all members to express their points of view, listen and learn from them!
In a male-dominated industry, what advice or encouragement would you give women who want to work in the clean energy sector?
As someone who has experienced this, it is not easy to be the only female in the meetings, especially when you are the youngest too! But it shouldn’t stop us to pursue our career goals within this industry and any other area.
Don’t feel embarrassed and shy to approach your experienced/ senior colleagues who can be your mentor and support you through your working challenges in a male-dominated working environment.
I believe that any appropriate action women take to follow their own personal career passions and goals are facilitating the pathway for the next generation. This is what encourages me to follow my career goals even more despite all challenges!
Why is it important to support female leaders in the clean energy industry and what improvements could be made to increase the number of women in renewables?
Despite the existing issues, it seems that we are on the right track for education opportunities for women. However, the story is different when talking about senior positions especially in the clean energy sector. Unfortunately, I don’t see many female fellows when working within this sector, especially at management level. In my opinion imbalanced gender equality is not only about the number of female employees but also for women to receive appropriate training and support for progressing to higher positions. It is with more women in leadership positions that we can address the lack of female role models for younger generation, and facilitate empowering young female scientists in this sector.
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This Scholarship is made possible by the generosity of our partners.