The 75 women selected to date for the fifth Homeward Bound Program all have a background (that is, a degree qualification, or equivalent) in science, technology, engineering, mathematics or medicine (STEMM). They come from all over the globe, cover a broad range of professions, occupations and career levels, and were selected based on their potential to demonstrate a new model of leadership, creating better outcomes for the planet.

Pathways and mechanisms for having impact form a core part of program content and discussions, and the ongoing intention of Homeward Bound is to develop a 1000-strong network of women with backgrounds in STEMM who can support each other in creating change. We aim to have 80 participants in this cohort  – we are holding five positions free for now, in the event we are able to raise/attract scholarship funding to be able to invite women from countries most affected by climate change, who have the most potential to make a difference through their participation in this program, and who are unable to raise the funds to cover program fees. (If you are in a position to help fund any scholarship positions, please contact us.)

Please keep an eye out for any links to crowdfunding campaigns in the bios below, and support these amazing women in their fundraising efforts if you can!

HB5’s online program commenced in November 2019 and continues online in 2021. We await conditions for safe global travel to announce dates for their Antarctic voyage.

Adriana Soto
Environmental Economist and Consultant

 As Vice Minister of the Environment of Colombia from 2011 to 2013, Adriana oversaw policy and financial strategies that allowed the expansion of protected areas in the Amazon and encouraged electric vehicle use. As a member of the Board of Directors of the UN Green Climate Fund, she led the fund’s business model design. More recently, she served as Regional Director for Colombia, Ecuador and Peru for The Nature Conservancy, where she promoted water conservation initiatives. She was awarded the Baron Alexander von Humboldt Grand Order of Environmental Merit, in recognition of her contributions to Colombia’s environment, institutions and society.

Amie Figueiredo
Associate Economic Affairs Officer
United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

Amie has worked on issues related to environmental policy, sustainable development, urban development and housing at the United Nations. She has also worked in the non-profit sector, where she secured funding for global conservation projects. In addition, she has worked in the private sector in environmental health and safety, hazard communication and environmentally sound management. She has experience in providing technical assistance and capacity-building workshops; assisting in the implementation of multi-disciplinary projects on development issues and policies. Amie also co-founded _gaia, collective of women artists and activists whose members promote and support the work of local women artists while developing programs that encourage collaboration and create community to help emerging artists. In pursuit of raising awareness _gaia concentrated on activism, from issues in the local community and the art world, to global issues affecting the lives of women.

Anna Colucci

Transformation Manager Global Sustainability
Fresenius Medical Care, Germany

Anna is a biologist, environmental manager, marine researcher, corporate sustainability expert in her professional life, and an activist, change-maker and zero-plastic warrior at heart. Her scientific knowledge merges well with her managerial skills to develop disruptive approaches and solutions, and to bring sustainability to the next level. Anna wants to inspire people through leading by example. Having lived in the Philippines, Australia and Italy, she moved to Germany and currently works for the Global Sustainability Team at Fresenius Medical Care. Aside from steering positive environmental change on a professional level, Anna engages with green policy making for a pan-European party in her free time.

Bernie-Anne Freeman
 Senior Engineer
 Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Toowoomba, Queensland

Bernie-Anne completed her civil engineering degree at the University of Southern Queensland and has worked in a range of road and bridge design, construction and maintenance roles. She currently leads the Darling Downs district’s road resurfacing team at the Department of Transport and Main Roads with a focus on value for money sustainable solutions. Bernie-Anne is a Chartered Engineer of Australia and Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland. She enjoys travelling to explore the diverse natural world and to understand the unique challenges facing each region. Bernie-Anne supports and encourages female engineers to progress their careers.

Carol Silberberg
Director of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry
St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

Dr Carol Silberberg is a consultation-liaison psychiatrist, working at the interface between mental and physical health. She has been an active contributor to clinical research and medical education throughout her career. She is passionate about improving gender equality, family friendly practices and mental wellbeing in the medical workforce. She is also a volunteer psychiatrist at the Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub, and for six years was the Chair of the RANZCP’s Faculty of Consultation Liaison Psychiatry. In her spare time, she can be found in her ceramics studio, playing cello, keeping fit, or most likely chasing after her children.

Cathy Barry
Translational Operations Manager, AbbVie
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Cathy is a molecular biologist with extensive experience in oncology. In academia she discovered a drug treatment for solid tumor cancers, then moved to industry to learn the commercialisation process. She progressed from assay development and product launch to running a global technical support team for personalised medicine cancer assays. Currently she supports biomarker research in oncology clinical trials with the aim of improving patient outcomes. In her spare time, she loves to cook, travel and entertain. Ultimately Cathy wants to ensure the awesome, intricate basis of life at the molecular level can be appreciated by all.

Charlotte Francesiaz
French Wildlife Agency (OFB), France

Charlotte completed a phD in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Montpellier, France. She is now a researcher in ecology and an expert for the French Ministry of the Environment. She studies migratory birds; the factors influencing the size of their populations and the means of ensuring their conservation. She is deeply motivated to promote science-based decision-making, a goal of added importance in the context of global changes. Her passion for theatre and teaching also leads her to seek alternative methods for making people aware of the urgent need to preserve nature.

Support Charlotte’s fundraising campaign here

Eleri Harris
Glacial, Fluvial and Terrain Scientist
BGC Engineering, Vancouver, Canada

Eleri is a consulting Geomorphologist and Surficial Geologist, specialising in both glacial and fluvial systems. Her background extends to post-graduate research in glacial geomorphology and climate, with a broader understanding of earth surface processes and landforms through a Geography B.Sc. and Quaternary Science M.Sc. She is also experienced in Environmental Assessment and international fieldwork. Eleri’s passion for science communication, as well as supporting women to succeed in professional and recreational environments, is channelled through voluntary initiatives to enthuse girls at school level on climate change and as Vice President of a women-only mountain bike club throughout British Columbia.

Jenni Penrose
Project Research Officer
Government Office for Science, London, UK

After studying for a degree in meteorology in the UK and the USA, Jenni moved to Singapore to work as a marine weather forecaster. Whilst there, she worked with the UN Women’s Committee in Singapore to encourage school girls to take up STEMM subjects and she has continued as a STEMM ambassador ever since. Jenni now works for the UK government as a civil servant in London, working in the interface between science and policy. Her passion for promoting and supporting women drives her forward and guides her decisions.

Jodi Salmond
Community Engagement and South East Queensland Programs Manager
Reef Check Australia, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Jodi is a marine researcher specialising in citizen science, conservation biology and behaviour change. Underwater, she trains divers in global reef health monitoring protocols; above it, she engages and inspires through hands-on research, education and personal development to encourage everyone to become the best versions of themselves and to look after the planet. Jodi is an adventure junkie, an acrobat and lover of life. She enjoys unique, immersive travel; her journeys leading to an adventurous outlook and McGyver-like innovativeness. She leads by example, getting amongst the action to make things happen. Support Jodi’s HB fundraising campaign here.

Julianna Kadar
PhD Candidate, Department of Biological Sciences
Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

 Julianna is a first-generation American with a Hungarian background and is a PhD candidate in Sydney. Her cross-disciplinary research combines biology and data science to observe shark behaviours. She deploys tags to collect masses of data and then uses machine learning to decode it and ‘see’ what sharks are doing underwater. Julianna is a passionate advocate for sharks and science communication, and puts hands-on STEMM learning into practice with primary- to university-level students. The opportunity to interact with women around the world who strongly believe they can change the planet for the better inspired her to join Homeward Bound.

Kathryn Michie
Public Sector Partnerships Manager
WWF-Australia, Sydney, NSW

Kathryn manages international conservation and development projects across Asia-Pacific, putting people at the centre of conservation solutions. She works with public and private sector partners to implement a range of projects, from community-based ecotourism in Nepal to supporting coastal communities in Solomon Islands to develop their own strategies for climate change adaptation. Social inclusion, particularly the empowerment of women, is central to the success of this work. She has lived and worked in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and Fiji. With undergraduate degrees in Business and Psychology, as well as a Masters in Environmental Management and Development, Kathryn is passionate about inspiring people to take action on climate change and to make more sustainable consumption decisions in their everyday lives.

Laurie LaPat-Polasko
VP / National Director of Remediation
Matrix New World Engineering, Phoenix, Arizona, USA

It’s rare to find someone who loves bacteria, but for Dr Laurie LaPat-Polasko, they are her heroes! Laurie specialises in the discovery and use of microbes to biodegrade harmful contaminants in water and soil. After isolating a bacterium that now bears her name, Pseudomonas LP, Laurie developed a passion for identifying innovative ways to clean up our planet, and working with her former employer Jacques Cousteau, Laurie addressed pollution issues in the Mediterranean Sea. Laurie earned her BS Biology from Chatham University, Engineers and MS in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Stanford University and PhD in Microbiology from the University of Maryland.

Maisa Rojas
Associate Professor, Geophysics 
University of Chile, Chile

Maisa is a Chilean climatologist and an She studied physics at the University of Chile and has a PhD in Atmospheric Physics from Oxford University. She has two main research areas – paleoclimate and regional climate change. Her common analysis tools are numerical climate models. Currently, she is a Coordinating Lead Author of the forthcoming IPCC report, AR6.

Martina Mende
 GP Obstetrician, Queanbeyan Hospital, NSW
Women’s Health Doctor, Marie Stopes International, Canberra

Martina’s career focus is health equity and women’s reproductive choice. Throughout her undergraduate and master’s degrees she focussed on women’s health with research on adolescent pregnancy and contraception services in Chile, and access to termination of pregnancy in Far North Queensland. She has lectured in reproductive health and continues to teach in Obstetrics. She believes passionately that providing women with reproductive choice is vital for social equality and that human health is intimately linked with a healthy environment.

Mel Snape
Senior Ecologist (Manager), Fauna Team
 Conservation Research Unit, ACT Government

Mel is lucky enough to currently work in her dream job as a senior ecologist with the ACT Government’s Conservation Research unit. After falling in love with the wonders of marsupial reproductive biology during her undergraduate degree, she went on to complete her PhD developing fertility control vaccines for managing overabundant kangaroo populations. She now works on a range of wildlife conservation and habitat restoration projects within the ACT, supported by an incredibly engaged and passionate community. Her mission for HB5 is to develop an understanding of how leadership can inspire real change, with tangible benefits for our global home. To support Mel’s HB fundraising campaign, click here.

Natalie Barefoot
Executive Director, Cet Law
Director, Environmental Justice Clinic
Lecturer in Law, University of Miami, School of Law
Abess Center for Ecosystem Science & Policy Scholar
Miami, Florida, USA

Natalie is an international oceans attorney who believes that legal protections should be earth-oriented, community-inspired, and respect all living beings. By focusing legal strategies through the lens of keystone species, such as sharks and cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises), Natalie advances protections for wildlife and their ocean habitats. She currently tackles international ocean issues as an attorney with Earthjustice and as a volunteer with Cet Law. Her previous work has taken her to five continents and spanned corporate law, academia, non-profits and international governmental organizations. Natalie loves to spend time with her clients diving, swimming, paddling in or on the water.

Nirvani Dhevcharran
Head of Infrastructure, The Foschini Group
Non-Executive Director, OWLAG, CPUT & ZADNA, Cape Town
South African

  Nirvani has extensive technology experience. She has worked in worked in multi-disciplinary environments and has driven the strategy and implementation of technology in all of these environments. Despite coming from a technology background, Nirvani has a passion for working with people and believes that optimum results are delivered in a motivated, empowering, positive work environment. Her teenage son keeps her constantly moving; she enjoys running, reading and travelling. Nirvani’s aim is to lead by example and to drive awareness and up-liftment of females to break through the cliched ‘glass ceiling’.

Philista Malaki

Research Scientist, National Museums of Kenya

Philista has a PhD in Dry Land Resources Management. Her main interest is in Biodiversity Conservation with vast experience in Avian Research. She has worked as a Research Scientist for the past 15 years at the National Museums of Kenya and is in charge of developing and implementing plans for Bird Research and Conservation Projects. Her areas of focus include Avian Ecology, Biodiversity and Species Monitoring with great expertise in employing incentive-based mechanisms to promote species conservation in key ecosystems. She is also an Environmental Consultant with experience in Environmental Impact Assessment and Auditing for Energy projects mainly wind and solar energy, gas and oil projects.

Priyanka Das Rajkakati
Co-Founder & GNC Engineer | Artist
The Exploration Company, France
Indian-born French

Priyanka has a story to share: the pursuit of a childhood dream, on mixing three passions in one lifetime – science, art and space. She wants to help build the first lunar human base and is starting by co-founding a startup on developing an agile spacecraft. She is actively involved in S.T.E.A.M. outreach and was featured on Forbes India 30 under 30 (2021). Her work can be found here. Her taste for experiencing cultures takes her all over the world, helping her find new sources of inspiration. Next stop: Antarctica!

Dr Rebecca Wade
Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science
Abertay University Scotland, United Kingdom

Rebecca studies human–environment interactions; her work focuses on gaining sustainable benefits for people and nature. Her early career training in physical geography and environmental management was at the Universities of Dundee, Scotland, UK, and Illinois (Urbana-Champagain), USA. Since 2002, based at Abertay University in Scotland, her interests have developed and expanded to incorporate civil engineering, landscape architecture, ecosystem service assessment, and human health and wellbeing. She has worked in the UK, USA, Brazil and across the European Union. Rebecca is a STEM Ambassador, a gender equality champion, and an Institution of Civil Engineers ‘invisible superhero’.

Roshni Sharma
GIS Specialist
 Umwelt Australia, Sydney, NSW
Australian of Fiji-Indian heritage

I am a Geospatial Scientist and Soft Skills Enthusiast, working to harness location intelligence to create tangible change for society. I love dogs (but not cats) and read copiously at every opportunity. I strive to be a thought leader, a compassionate disruptor, a connector and someone who gets things done. Having traversed environmental science and management, human geography, palaeoclimatology and business, in my lifetime I want to help shift the culture of the geospatial industry to adopt new ways of thinking and technologies ethically to leverage location to change the way society conceptualises and enacts sustainability across all industries. Support Roshni’s HB5 campaign here.

Seona Meharg
Integration Scientist, CSIRO
Canberra, ACT, Australia

Seona is part of a team of researchers and practitioners who explore the theory and practice of transdisciplinary approaches to complex adaptation projects in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. She is exploring how to improve individual and collective learning for adaptive decision making, in particular understanding the capacities, competencies and networks of change agents, and how these can be cultivated in others to achieve positive systemic change. Seona enjoys stories, baking, hiking, mountain biking, trail running, and adventures with family and friends.

Sigrid Maebe
Science communicator
Phytofar Leuven, Belgium

After working for 20 years as a marine biologist at an aquarium and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Sigrid found a new passion: agriculture. She is the science communicator for the Belgian association of the crop protection industry. She believes that if scientists, farmers and the public understand each other, then politicians can take well-founded decisions on agriculture, food and nature, to change the planet for the best! Sigrid lives with her wife, daughter and son in Leuven, Belgium. Her passions: the ocean, agriculture, music, travelling, friends and family!

Support Sigrid’s fundraising campaign here.

Tamantha Stutchbury
Program Director, Global Challenge Program
University of Wollongong, NSW

Tamantha has a STEM background and is currently the Program Director for an interdisciplinary challenge-led research program. She is passionate about science, gender equality, disability support and the value of research. She spends her days connecting researchers and building projects with community, government and industry. She brings diverse groups of people together to facilitate transformative and impactful projects. Living in Wollongong, Tamantha has an Honours degree in Medicinal Chemistry, a PhD in Biochemistry and a Masters of Management. With four kids, Tam juggles the work-life tightrope and loves relaxing with family and friends.

Wang Yanhui

Operations Director of iGDP
Beijing, China

Wang Yanhui has more than 20 years of experience in communications and management in the non-profit sector. She has worked for many famous media institutions, international NGOs, foundations, and research institutions. Her latest placement was as Public Information and Partnership Development Consultant for the UNESCO Beijing office. She served as board member for two grass-root NGOs in China in her spare time. She graduated from Renmin University of China with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and the University of Stirling with a master’s degree in Media Management. She is a UK FCO Chevening Scholar.

Alba Aguion
PhD Candidate
Future Oceans Lab, University of Vigo (Spain)

 Alba is a biologist interested in natural resource management and climate change. Her passion for the journeys of past-century explorers has inspired her imagination for research and travel. Her science has taken her to study the microbes living in the Arctic and the invasive ants marching across Europe. Concerned about climate change from an ecological and economic perspective, Alba is now focused on the study of sustainable practices in fisheries. Due to her strong passion for science communication, Alba has worked as an outreach officer sharing her science among schools of the UK, Spain and Cyprus.

Amelia Sellars
Principal Environmental Officer
Queensland Department of Environment and Science, Brisbane, Australia

Amelia is an Environmental Scientist working to improve Queensland’s environmental performance by identifying the risks associated with a wide range of projects. This means assessing the impact that particular industries (e.g. coal seam gas, quarries, mills) have on land, air, water and biodiversity. She advises, negotiates and consults with industry, government and the community on environmental issues and strives to ensure that industry is held to best practice environmental standards. She is excited to be a part of such an amazing group of women intent on making positive changes in the world.


Anna Madlener
Marine Robotics Engineer at EvoLogics GmbH
Berlin, Germany

Anna holds a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the Technical University of Berlin and a M.Sc. in Systems, Control and Robotics from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. Originally from Germany, Anna spent a large part of her life growing up close to the Italian coasts and now develops underwater robots at EvoLogics in Berlin, an innovative bionic engineering company. Anna strives to shape a technological future that is unfolding its potential to support protecting the planet, and is involved in projects that tell the (mostly unknown) story of our oceans through the universal language of art and music. Support Anna by visiting her fundraising page here

Bharathi Boppana
Research Scientist
 Institute of High Performance Computing, Singapore

Bharathi is a researcher in the field of environmental fluid mechanics. Her research interests include the use of computational models to address challenges of environmental flows. Through Homeward Bound she wishes to enhance her skills, inspire and empower teams, and together create a positive change. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, playing badminton, walking in woods, practising yoga and heartfulness meditation.

Carole Durussel
Co-Lead, STRONG High Seas Project
Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Potsdam, Germany

 Being from a landlocked country, it was seeing whales when she was 11 that got Carole hooked on marine issues. This passion took her to Germany to study marine environmental sciences. While working for IUCN, Carole discovered the lack of protection afforded to the high seas (half of the Earth’s surface). This led her to do a PhD in international law in Australia, to help policymakers make better informed decisions about ocean conservation. Carole co-leads the STRONG High Seas project at IASS, working to strengthen ocean governance for high seas biodiversity conservation.

Support Carole’s campaign here

Diana Pazmiño
Faculty researcher
 Universidad San Francisco de Quito Galapagos, Ecuador
  Ecuadorian (Galapagan)   

Diana is a researcher from the Galapagos Islands. Her passion for nature started early on during her childhood and has not stopped since. She is a conservation geneticist with a particular interest in aquatic biology and the much-needed development of applied conservation tools. Diana is convinced that education and local capacity building are key to addressing positive change, and dedicates time to work with kids and young people in the Galapagos to raise awareness on global topics. She is a strong advocate for women in science.

Ellen Anderson
Senior Research Scientist / Clinical Manager
 WaveForm Technologies, Inc.,  Portland, Oregon, USA

Ellen has two decades of experience in the Medical Device field. She was instrumental in developing a state-of-the-art continuous glucose monitor for persons with diabetes. During her career, she earned a Master’s degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. With Hopkins’ support, she spent six months in Peru managing a prospective clinical study to enumerate the effects of El Nino on the health outcomes of children. This experience, along with a keen awareness of the state of the environment, were catalysts to applying for Homeward Bound. Ellen anticipates that her involvement in the year-long global leadership and sustainability program will be a springboard towards influencing outcomes for a healthier planet.

Helen O’Connor
Senior Climate and Environment Adviser
Department for International Development, Ireland/United Kingdom

Helen has a degree in Biological Sciences from Durham University and a Masters in Environmental Science from Cambridge University. She has followed her passion and commitment to manage the environment – something that has seen her work across the world, from Borneo to Pakistan and now in the UK. She particularly focuses on the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on the poorest and most marginalised, especially women and children. Helen has two young children who inspire her every day, loves nature and is currently investigating how to reduce her family’s consumption levels and reduce their impact on the environment.

Contribute to Helen’s fundraising campaign here

Judit Jimenez Sainz
Associate Research Scientist
 Yale University Medical School, USA

 Judit is an Associate Research Scientist in the Jensen group at Yale University. Her current research involves biochemical and cellular-based approaches to prevent and unmask breast and ovarian cancers. She received her PhD from Universidad de Valencia, Spain and UCL, London. She is director of the E-visibility program and volunteers on the advisory board of ECUSA. She strongly believes in women in science and the new generation of STEM students. She is passionate about working with diverse groups and loves science communication. Judit gets energy from being in contact with nature, spending time with others, meditating and Zumba classes.

Julie Moskalyk
Science Director
Science North, Lively, Ontario

 Julie has been part of the Science North team since 1985, with a career focused on implementing visitor experiences and informal science communication to people of all ages. As Science Director, Julie leads the science strategy for Canada’s second- and eighth-largest science centres. Partnerships with scientists, researchers and innovators to keep current science at the forefront of the science centres is an important part of her work. As a science centre leader, Julie is committed to building engaged and informed audiences. Julie has a keen interest in the natural sciences, with a passion for her area of expertise, Entomology!

Katy Tant
Research Fellow and Lecturer,  Department of Mathematics
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland

Katy is a research fellow and lecturer working at the interface of mathematics and engineering. Her research focuses on applying new mathematics to problems arising in non-destructive evaluation, optimal design for re-manufacturing, geophysics, environmental engineering and additive manufacturing. She is committed to promoting the role of mathematics in tackling real-world challenges and, in 2016, she co-published the book UK Success Stories in Industrial Mathematics, which showcased research that had resulted in positive industrial, societal and environmental impact. Outside of work, Katy enjoys hiking in the Scottish mountains, taking ballet classes, seeing the world and sitting down with a good book!

      Dr. Kristy DiGiacomo,

Senior lecturer (Animal Production), Veski Sustainable Agriculture Fellow, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne.

 After receiving her degree in animal science and management (honours) Kristy continued at the University of Melbourne where she obtained her PhD in physiological and metabolic responses to heat stress in ruminants. Kristy has continued her research in the area and is currently a senior lecturer in animal nutrition. Kristy has a passion for working in agriculture and loves the mix of science and teamwork required in her role. A passionate communicator, Kristy loves to teach others and share ideas. Kristy is a dog loving avid reader who enjoys getting lost in fictional worlds while spending time in the sun.

Linda Thompson
Sustainable Energy & Utilities Group Manager
 Fonterra Limited, Cambridge, New Zealand
New Zealander

 Linda is a down-to-earth farm girl from NZ who loves her family and friends, being outdoors and her career. Her role encompasses the strategy and portfolio for energy, emissions and water reduction across Global Operations.  She is passionate about her opportunity to make a demonstrable difference to climate change by transitioning to renewable energy, as well as minimising the use of natural resources by business. She enjoys making a difference in the world through kindness and challenging boundaries to make things better.

Marga López Rivas
Assistant professor CEOCUAL University of Almeria, Spain and Marta Abreu de las Villas, Cuba
 Director of Nature & Oceans of the Americas, NGO of Costa Rica, El Ejido, Almeria

Dr Marga López is a specialist in sea turtles and climate change. Currently, she is an assistant professor at CECOUAL-UAL in Spain and Marta Abreu de las Villas University of Cuba. For 15 years she has been involved in projects focused on species conservation research and coordination at non-governmental institutions. Her research activities are focused on better understanding the impact of anthropogenic and climate change effects on behavioural patterns. Lately, she is addressing global analysis to find new conservation strategies to minimise climate change effects. Marga also has a mission in life to empower women in science to achieve their dreams.

Mia Urem
Postdoctoral scientist
Institute of Biology, Leiden University, The Netherlands

Mia is a biochemist and (molecular) microbiologist, currently working on the biological recycling of plastics by fungi. She holds a PhD in Molecular Biotechnology, and previously worked on the intricate molecular systems that control antibiotic production in bacteria. She is driven by curiosity and inspired by scientific challenges and the potential of microorganisms. Born in Croatia, raised in The Netherlands and educated in English, Mia is multilingual, and enjoys travel, reading and creative activities. Homeward Bound will provide an amazing opportunity to learn valuable and meaningful skills within a unique global network focussed on a sustainable future.

Monica Green
Senior Lecturer and Program Leader
 Federation University Australia (FedUni) Gippsland campus, Victoria

Monica is a senior lecturer and teacher educator in the School of Education at Federation University Australia where she works with future primary teachers. Monica’s teaching and research interests are in place and community-based pedagogies, education for sustainability, climate change and social ecology. She is an active committee member and leader of the Regional Centre of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development (RCE Gippsland) who mobilise learning for sustainability across the Gippsland region. Monica lives on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria, where she pursues her love of the natural world through bushwalking, bike-riding, gardening and surfing.

Natalie Meiklejohn
Postgraduate Student
The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Natalie’s postgraduate research focuses on identifying resistance to the invasive plant pathogen myrtle rust in Australian native flora. She is the inaugural 1 Million Women Tara Hunt Fellowship recipient and has a passion for communicating science and environmental awareness through writing and community outreach. She attended the 2018 International Youth Media Summit as an environmental delegate, collaborating on media and humanitarian projects. Having grown up in Far North Queensland, she is also passionate about the health of the Great Barrier Reef, and advocates for its protection by volunteering as an ambassador for citizen science organisations ReefCheck Australia and CoralWatch. To support Natalie’s HB fundraising campaign, click here.

Olivia Mendivil Ramos
Postdoctoral Fellow Computational Biology
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), New York, USA

Olivia is passionate about genomics and the vast amount of data generated by genome technology. She is exploring how artificial intelligence can depict patterns of mechanisms of survival in plant genomes that underwent drastic climate changes for extended time periods. She holds a PhD in Biology from the University of St Andrews, an MRes in Bioinformatics from University of Glasgow, and lectures statistical methods at NYU. Always chasing the good for the community, she has actively engaged in outreach educational programs at CSHL and directed a Spanish scientific grassroots organisation – ECUSA. She loves travelling with her family, and currently she is learning how to play ukulele and to skateboard.

Priscila Chaves Martinez
Founder / Executive Director
10x Impact, Costa Rica
Costa Rican

Priscila has worked around the world at the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship and impact. After a decade in corporate tech, she ventured into social innovation, launching two startups in East Africa and Silicon Valley. As the Founder of 10X Impact – an innovation agency building the bridge between technology and the ecosystems that help people, communities and organisations thrive – she uses technologies to solve challenges in education, environment, social mobility and immigration. Priscila is a passionate advocate for the ethical use of technology and science, and speaks frequently on this topic on major stages, such as UNESCO HQ.

Rachel Brennan
Technical Director Project Management
 GHD, Canberra

Rachel is an infrastructure project management professional with a background in Civil Engineering. She strives to provide effective and collaborative project leadership and enjoys managing multidisciplinary teams of engineers, architects, environmental scientists and GIS specialists to achieve project objectives. Prior to her career in the private sector, Rachel was an engineering officer in the Australian Army where she led soldiers in extremely challenging environments, including on Operation in Afghanistan. Rachel has a deep passion for the outdoors and is often seen dragging her two young boys on outdoor adventures.

Sam Cridland
Chemical Engineer Low Emission Technologies
CSIRO, QLD, Australia

Sam hopes to create positive change in the world through sustainable engineering, diversity and education. She is a Chemical Engineer working on hydrogen research projects in the Low Emission Technologies program at CSIRO in Brisbane. Sam was born and raised in regional Queensland, studied a Bachelor and Masters degree at the University of Queensland and briefly at the Technical University of Denmark. As well as travelling and being active, Sam enjoys volunteering. She is currently the Impact Analyst for the national, non-for-profit organisation ‘Power of Engineering’ and has previously conducted humanitarian engineering work in Nepal and Borneo.

Sarah McKay
Neuroscientist / Science communicator
Director, Think Brain, Sydney, NSW
New Zealander–Australian  

Sarah specialises in translating research into simple, actionable strategies for peak performance, health and wellbeing. She is Director of The Neuroscience Academy, which offers professional education in applied neuroscience, has written a popular science book on women’s brains, and presents the ABC science show Catalyst. She received her PhD from Oxford, but after four years of postdoc research hung up her lab coat to launch a science communications business. Originally from NZ, she now calls Sydney’s Northern Beaches home and, together with her husband, is raising two young surfer dudes and one cocker spaniel.

Shannon Babb
Lead Curriculum Developer
Thalweg Education Innovation, Utah, USA

 Shannon is an interdisciplinary earth scientist and STEM educator who is the founder of Thalweg Education – an organisation dedicated to bridging the gap between scientists and the public. By creating curriculum, library programs and teacher trainings, she helps government agencies and professional organisations bring hands-on STEM experiences to under-served communities. She is particularly passionate about finding ways to facilitate science opportunities for rural and refugee youth. When Shannon isn’t teaching, she writes fiction, does distance running and creates knitting patterns. She also volunteers with Civil Air Patrol.

Sisi Hu
Post Doctorate Fellow
Harvard University, USA

Xi (Sisi) is currently a post-doctoral fellow of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. Her research lies in infrastructure systems modelling, climate resilience, environmental economics and, more recently, on the impact of artificial intelligence on the future of work. In addition to Xi’s research, she has professional experience in the private sector, government and with NGOs in seven countries across Europe (the UK), Asia (China, India), Africa (Namibia) and the Americas (the US, Ecuador, Peru). In 2014, she co-founded the Oxford International Infrastructure Consortium whose mission is to communicate infrastructure research to policy makers and financiers around the world.

Tanya Vautier
Operations Capability Manager, Woodside Energy
Perth, Western Australia

Tanya is responsible for leading workforce transformation, and developing diverse and talented people to meet growing business needs. Tanya has 20 years’ experience in the gas industry across engineering, production planning and optimisation, commercial agreements, joint venture management, business planning, contracting, sustainable supply chains and capability development. She is passionate about improving employee diversity, particularly for Indigenous Australians, and women in STEMM and trade roles. Tanya’s adventurous spirit can also be seen through her outdoor adventures, which she shares with two young daughters.

Zaida Ortega Diago
Postdoctoral Fellow
Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul Campo Grande, MS, Brazil

 Dr Zaida Ortega is a behavioural ecologist who currently studies how thermal ecology modulates animal movement in reptiles and mammals. She studied Biology and completed her postgraduate in Ecology and Statistics at the University of Salamanca (Spain) and then moved to Brazil as a postdoc. There, she conducts research at the Pantanal, supervises postgraduate students, teaches Animal Behaviour and organises various outreach and scientific events. She is equally passionate about science and teaching, and works to contribute to social equality and environmental sustainability. She strongly believes that ecofeminism and caring more about people and nature is the best future scenario we have.

Allison Man
Dunlap Postdoctoral Fellow
 Dunlap Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Toronto, Canada
  Hong Kongese

  Allison is an astrophysicist. She studies how galaxies formed and evolved, by analysing data taken with telescopes located in space and in remote regions on Earth. She earned her PhD from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Keen to foster diversity and equity in science, Allison is involved in a few projects that use astronomy as a gateway to build up STEMM interest and capacity in several African countries. Through the Homeward Bound program she hopes to apply her skills and tap into the group’s interdisciplinary expertise to address challenges faced by our planet.


Ana Gren
Senior Program Specialist
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Stockholm
Swedish & Ecuadorean

Ana currently works at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency managing funds in support of global programs for water, sanitation and hygiene. Throughout her career she has led and managed environment and scientific research cooperation programs in various countries in Latin American, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Her particular areas of interest include all aspects related to environmental sustainability, innovation, urban development, climate resilience, gender equality, as well as scientific capacity building. Ana was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador and currently lives in Stockholm, Sweden. She holds a PhD in Infrastructure and Planning, a Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning, and a BSc in Economics. Ana is a passionate about sustainable development, inclusion and equality, and strives to see science used to positively inform decision making and the management of our environment. She is looking forward to embarking and sharing her Homeward Bound experience to inspire more women to enter STEMM fields, and work with environmental global challenges. Ana is happiest when in nature, playing tennis, and when surrounded by her two sons, family and friends.

Aria Ahmed-Cox
Scientia PhD Candidate, Children’s Cancer Institute Australia
University of New South Wales, Sydney

Aria holds a Bsc. Hons. in microbiology, genetics and molecular biology. Currently pursuing a PhD in cancer nanomedicine, Aria intends to attain a medical degree and work collaboratively as a researcher clinician to improve outcomes for patients with cancer. She is a strong advocate for mental health in STEMM and uses her free time to teach and mentor university students, and volunteer with St John Ambulance NSW. Always one to take on challenges head-first, she is excited to develop her leadership skills and engage with like-minded women, working towards impactful research and sustainable change on a global scale.

Briana Wade
Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst
 Commonwealth Bank of Australia, New South Wales

Briana is an engineer who grew up on a farm just outside of Canberra. Her family ran a robotics education business, so she’s been immersed in technology most of her life. She graduated from ANU in Canberra with a Bachelor of Engineering degree majoring in electronics and communications, and systems engineering. Since graduating, she has started working as a cyber threat intelligence analyst where she helps collect, analyse and distribute intelligence to help mitigate the risk of cyber-based attacks. Alongside work, Briana loves to go rowing in the early mornings and play strategy board games.

Cate Sinclair
Occupational Therapist
Glenluce, Australia


Cate is a health clinician and researcher, working with children and adults who experience debilitating pain. She completed her PhD while parenting three exuberant teenagers, investigating links between children’s highly sensitive nervous systems and family relationship patterns that develop through exposure to threat and disconnection. She is passionate about science-based learning, nature, and restoring healthy connections between people, and with the earth. Cate keeps bees in the bush where she can be found figuring out permaculture, or wandering with her dogs, friends and family.

Dani Nembhard
Environmental Analyst
 Environmental Solutions Ltd, Kingston, Jamaica

Dani is a marine scientist and project manager specialising in environmental management services. She currently works as an Environmental Analyst, providing people with tools and solutions to increase the sustainability value of development with minimal environmental and social impacts. In 2014, she pursued an MSc. in Queensland, Australia, bravely transitioning from a 9-year telecoms career in the Caribbean and Central America, to diving and research on the Great Barrier Reef. Since then she has done academic research focused on coral reef ecosystems in the Caribbean, Australia and the Philippines, investigating their resilience as complex, social-ecological systems. Dani is a passionate minority rights and science communication advocate who strongly believes that science and diversity must intersect to achieve lasting, positive change. Support Dani by visiting her fundraising page here.


Erica Donner
Associate Professor and Research Leader, Future Industries Institute 
University of South Australia, Adelaide

Erica is a research scientist specialising in environmental risk assessment and risk management. She focuses primarily on chemical and microbial pollutants, soil and water quality, and wastewater treatment and reuse. Currently, she is particularly interested in understanding the role of environmental stressors in promoting the development and spread of antibiotic resistance. This is one of the 21st century’s greatest health challenges. She is a keen proponent of the One Health initiative, which recognises the inextricable links between human, animal and environmental health, and she really enjoys collaborating with people from different disciplines and backgrounds.

Hilde Perez
University of Leon, Leon, Spain

 Hilde is professor of Mechanical Engineering and head of the Department of Mechanical, Computer and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Leon in Spain. Her research fields are modelling and simulation of machining processes, micro-manufacturing and high-performance machining. Being conscious of the increasingly lower number of women in engineering degrees, she joined a mentoring program designed to encourage scientific and technological vocations in young girls. She loves her job, but she needs to take action, to go beyond traditional academic life. She is excited to join Homeward Bound and looking forward to learning from this amazing experience to inspire future generations of women for a better world.

Dr Joanna Sumner
Senior Manager Genetic Resources
Museums Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Joanna is passionate about the natural world and is happiest wandering in the Australian bush, where she grew up. She is currently the Manager of Genetic Resources at Melbourne Museum, facilitating conservation and evolutionary genetic research, and managing the museum’s wildlife DNA collection. Joanna has loved the complementary nature of hands-in-the-dirt field research in biodiversity with genomic analyses. Her first love is reptiles, and she is in awe of their diversity and ingenuity. When not at work she loves gardening, the brilliant company of her teenagers, practicing aikido and travelling with her partner.

Dr Karen Joyce
Senior Lecturer
 James Cook University, Cairns, Australia

Karen has a PhD in Geographical Sciences from the University of Queensland (2005) where she used satellites and aerial cameras to map live coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef. She then turned her geospatial expertise to broader uses within government, private industry, academia and the Australian Army. Her research now incorporates drones into environmental monitoring workflows. Karen is also the co-founder and Education Director of She Maps – an initiative designed to bring diversity to what we think of as science (it’s more than lab coats and test tubes!) and who engages with science as a potential career path.

Kimberly Lawrence
Water Engineer
Jacobs Engineering, Washington, USA

Kimberly is currently an environmental engineer working on multiple water treatment and conveyance projects for local, regional and international clients. Originally from the Caribbean, she earned her BSc degree at the University of the West Indies in Barbados, and her MS in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Stanford University. She is passionate about environmental protection and supporting STEMM development, especially in underprivileged communities and developing countries. She is an active member and local ambassador of her company’s Black employee network. Outside of work Kimberly volunteers with the Stanford Alumni Club of Washington. She also enjoys reading, photography and exploring the outdoors.

Kristina Baltutis
Veterinarian / Owner, Well Bred Veterinary Services
Burlington, North Carolina, USA

 Kristina is a veterinarian whose main interest is in conservation and reproductive medicine. She currently owns and operates a small-animal house-call practice focused on lifetime health and education. Prior to her career as a veterinarian, she taught high school science, and she continues to engage her community as an educator on pet health. Kristina serves as a volunteer leader in multiple veterinary organisations. She is an okapi enthusiast and an advocate for the Okapi Conservation Project. To support Kristina’s fundraising campaign click here.

Louise Kelly-Hope
Head of Monitoring and Evaluation Operational Research
 Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK

 Louise is an infectious disease epidemiologist specialising in the control and elimination of malaria and neglected tropical diseases in Africa and Asia. She has worked on a wide range of projects in 15+ endemic countries with multiple international stakeholders, and uses innovative mapping, remote sensing and mHealth tools to analyse spatial-temporal distributions of disease, collect environmental and human population data and identify high-risk areas for targeted interventions. She works with endemic country scientists, supervises many PhD and MSc students and is an advocate for women in STEMM. She is married with four sons and loves hiking in the wild outdoors.

Mariana Panuncio-Feldman
Senior Director, International Climate Cooperation, WWF-US
Global citizen of Argentina, France and USA

Mariana is passionate about addressing complex planetary problems through collaborative leadership. In her current role, Mariana coordinates World Wildlife Fund (US) efforts to accelerate climate action by cities, states, companies, universities and NGOs, working with national governments to close the global emissions gap. Prior to this position, Mariana served as WWF’s climate lead for Latin America, co-led the design of WWF’s conservation strategy for the Amazon Biome, and coordinated a tri-national program that conserved over 10 million hectares of protected areas and indigenous territories in the Southwestern Amazon. Mariana has also worked for The Summit Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and a network of peasant organisations in Peru. Mariana received a BA in biology from Mount Holyoke College, and an MS in conservation biology from the University of Maryland.

Ming Yin
Vice President at Vitalstar Biotechnology Co., Ltd
Beijing, China

Dr. Ming Yin is pursuing her passion for technology commercializing from scientific concept to real product, applied in people’s life. PhD in Basic Veterinary Medicine, CTES fellow at Cambridge and Warwick universities in the UK with a Chevening Scholarship, Ming Used to be the Grand Challenges in Global Health Project Manager of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, generating humanized animal model for HIV/Malaria vaccine development for third World countries. Currently she set up a biotech company with partners focusing on animal models in tumor and liver field for scientific research and therapeutic methods pre-clinical evaluation. Ming likes jogging, reading and Chinese Calligraphy in spare time. She hopes to increase diversity in STEMM and contribute value for protecting earth home together with Homeward Bound sisters.

Monica Hoyt
Education / Outreach Manager
Central Utah Water Conservancy District
Sandy, Utah USA

Monica is a chemist who’s passion is drinking water process control. For over 20 years, she has managed three drinking water laboratories. The highlight of her career was piloting new drinking water technologies for multiple drinking water treatment plant’s upgrades. She recently was asked to develop Central Utah Water’s education department, which focuses on water and STEM. In her spare time, she volunteers as a Community Emergency Response Team Instructor.

Nancy Glenn
University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia and Boise State University Boise, Idaho, USA

 Nancy is passionate about mentoring students, and specifically helping them pursue their research goals while also developing professional and personal life-long skills. Nancy’s research interests are in remote sensing of the environment and exposing students to the exciting opportunities of lidar and spectroscopy to monitor how earth’s systems are changing. With an engineering and science background, Nancy enjoys innovating both the technology and the application of remote sensing. Much of her work is focused on monitoring changes to ecosystems due to disturbance (e.g. fire). Nancy has also served in administration roles including department chair, research director, and in federal relations.

Nat Raisbeck-Brown
Spatial Scientist
CSIRO, Western Australia

Nat is a map maker, a scientist and teacher. As a map maker she knows maps are a powerful way to visualise science and change over time. The impacts of climate change need to be more visible and maps are a great way to achieve this. As a scientist, Nat knows the collection and analysis of climate change data is complex and time consuming, but a lot of these data are available and free to use. As a teacher she shares her knowledge about how to convert science into maps so communities can see how their environment changing.

Paula Silva
Senior Water Resources Engineer
Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., San Diego, California, USA

 Paula is a hydraulic engineer specialised in integrated water resources management working for a global engineering firm. She grew up in Colima, Mexico and she studied mechanical engineering with a major in agriculture engineering at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in Monterrey, Mexico, followed by a master in hydraulic engineering at IHE Delft in the Netherlands. Her professional experience includes extensive water system modelling to provide technical support to water supply managers and basin stakeholders facing complex challenges in their water supply planning process. Paula leads Jacobs’ integrated water resources management internal network, focusing on knowledge transfer and best practices across the company. Paula is passionate about inclusion and diversity, and she is currently the chair of Jacobs’ Latino employee network.

Priya Gandhi
Senior Environmental Designer
 Atelier Ten Melbourne, Australia

Priya was interested in sustainability before she knew what the word meant. While studying mechanical engineering at the University of Illinoi,s she joined the Solar Decathlon team to design a solar-powered house and had an epiphany about the important role buildings play in fighting climate change. Since then she has been a sustainability consultant in the US and Australia, working to make buildings better for people and the planet. She earned her MS in Architecture from UC Berkeley, where she conducted research on occupant behaviour and building simulation tools. In her free time, Priya loves baking, dancing, hiking and travelling.

Rachel Villani
Coastal Ecologist
 US Geological Survey, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

 Rachel is a coastal wetlands field ecologist studying the effectiveness of individual coastal wetland restoration projects while also monitoring the ecological condition of wetlands across the entire coastal Louisiana landscape. She studied wildlife ecology at Louisiana State University, fell in love with birds (specifically wetland birds), and dove into the wetland world from there. Wetlands are universal worldwide and Rachel is dedicated to their conservation and restoration. When not in the field, Rachel can be found training for triathlons and ultra marathons, or with her dog hiking, reading and generally going on adventures! To support Rachel’s HB fundraising campaign, please click here.

Reina Camacho Toro
French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Paris, France

Dr Reina Camacho Toro is an experimental particle physicist. She is member of the ATLAS collaboration of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, which announced the discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012. She has a comprehensive background in data analysis, mathematical modelling and R&D of silicon particle detectors. She actively participates in initiatives of capacity building for future-scientists and to promote science and the role of science in policy-making, in collaboration with CERN and ICTP, a UNESCO institution. She loves hiking, skiing and travelling to discover new cultures.

Sara Ritzie
Scientific Communications Manager
Royal Canin Canada

Science enthusiast. Veterinarian. Creative thinker. Team leader. Environmental advocate. Challenger of the status quo… Sara started her veterinary career in the typical way: in a veterinary practice. And she loved it! She just can’t resist new challenges! Her love of working with animals, paired with her passion for promoting an understanding of science has morphed into a scientific management role within a company dedicated to pet health through nutrition; finding creative approaches to bring concepts forward in simple, effective ways. She is also an outdoor adventurer, home renovation DIYer, injured turtle first responder, canine agility handler, and backyard beekeeper.

Sharon Davis
Enterprise Senior Fellow, University of Melbourne
 Director, Water Practice Consulting Melbourne
Victoria, Australia

 Sharon has more than 20 years’ experience in the Australian public sector, at both the state and federal level, leading water-related policy, technical and R&D programs. Throughout her career she has focussed on bridging science and policy to inform decision making. In 2011 Sharon was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Harvard University where she worked on water security, and water and development. She has a PhD in Catchment Hydrology and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Sharon has a strong interest in diversity in science, governance and decision making.

Suzie Imber
Associate Professor of Planetary Science
University of Leicester, United Kingdom

Suzie is a planetary scientist specialising in understanding the interaction of the sun with the inner planets in our solar system. She is also interested in using satellite data to address global social, economic and scientific challenges. She wrote computer code to automatically identify all the mountains in the Andes and now spends several months a year tackling first ascents of mountains she discovered. She was the winner of the 2017 BBC series Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?, and in her spare time enjoys running, rock climbing, baking, yoga and learning Portuguese!

Tristy Fairfield
Renewable energy, climate change and sustainability leader
Perth, Western Australia

Tristy is a renewable energy, climate change and sustainability professional, with 20 years’ policy, strategy and project experience across corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors. Throughout her career, Tristy has sought to work with organisations and on projects that create positive and lasting impact, leading the delivery of sustainable solutions that address climate change and other environmental and social priorities. She holds a MSC (Renewable Energy) from Murdoch University and a BComm from the University of WA, and is a Board Member of Renew, a national, not-for-profit organisation that inspires, enables and advocates for people to live sustainably in their homes and communities.