HOMEWARD BOUND #TeamHB6 (2021)
The world needs a new kind of leader and our #TeamHB6 cohort for the Homeward Bound program represent the diversity, initiative, bravery and skill we are looking for. These 100 women have been selected from an immensely impressive application pool, for our sixth program. All have a background and/or qualification in science, technology, engineering, mathematics or medicine (STEMM), and they come from all over the globe, from a broad range of professions, occupations and career levels, and have been 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.
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! Opportunities to sponsor or support women with scholarship packages remain open. If you are interested please contact us.
#TeamHB6’s online program commenced online in March 2021. We await conditions for safe global travel to announce dates for their Antarctic voyage.
Ximena Aguilar Vega
Antarctic scientist / Glaciologist, University of Magallanes / University of Stirling
Mexican, living in Mexico City
Ximena has just graduated from an MSc degree in Antarctic Sciences with a Glaciology specialisation at the University of Magallanes. She will be starting her PhD at the University of Stirling this year to continue her research in Bio-optics applied to the dynamics between glaciers and the ocean, and the role these systems play in the carbon cycle in polar regions.
She has participated in two Antarctic scientific expeditions (2019 and 2020) led by the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH), and she travelled to Antarctica with NASA’s IceBridge mission in 2018. Ximena is also a photographer; she deeply believes in the synergy between science and art as an infallible tool for climate change awareness.
Support Ximena by visiting her fundraising page here.
Sustainability Manager, Nestlé Central America
Peruvian, living in Panamá
As a sustainability professional, Claudia has worked over the past 20 years in different countries across Latin America in the mining, oil & gas and food & beverage sectors.
She considered herself an intrapreneur, working from inside the industry to influence the transformation of business process and behaviours to become truly climate positive, by integrating decarbonisation actions into cost reduction, reducing and valorising waste as a resource to build a circular economy future.
As a dynamic and enthusiastic leader, she invests in her relationships and ability to influence at all levels, to integrate sustainability scientific concepts to improve business performance.
She loves cooking Peruvian food, investigating the ingredients origins and creating more sustainable alternative recipes.
PhD Candidate, CSIRO - Agriculture and Food & RMIT University - Applied Chemistry
Turkish, living in Melbourne, Australia
Meltem is a PhD student working in the Applied Chemistry Department at RMIT and Food Innovation Centre at CSIRO. Originally from Istanbul, Meltem’s lifelong wanderlust fueled her curiosity and led her to Melbourne to study for an MSc in Food Science at the University of Melbourne. Her current research focuses on understanding the interactions between food structure and digestion to be used as a tool to modulate digestion kinetics. Meltem is passionate about identifying and communicating innovative approaches and opportunities to mitigate threats to food security. As an advocate for gender equity in STEMM, she is looking forward to joining the Homeward Bound family to create a more sustainable future.
Support Meltem by visiting her fundraising page here.
Reader, School of Geosciences , University of Aberdeen
British, living in Scotland
Clare is an Earth Scientist interested in how the Earth works. Her research focuses on mountain building and how the Earth’s crust deforms as a result of natural and anthropogenic processes. She is a director of Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage, and currently advises and works on several Net Zero projects linking across the academic, industry, policy interface. Other research interests are investigating uncertainties and human biases in subjective data interpretation and links between society and science. She is excited to be part of TeamHB6, working to promote women in STEMM and their active leadership in making positive World change.
Board Member and STEM leader, communicator and advocate, Ocean lover
Australian, living in Sydney, Australia
Jas is a marine science and communications graduate who loves working at the intersection of STEM, communication, governance and policy development to solve problems.
Jas worked in Australian higher education for over two decades in senior leadership roles, overseeing science education and research operations, student recruitment and STEM communication programs at the University of Sydney.
As the General Manager of Global and National Science Relationships at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology Jas developed the Bureau’s strategic partnerships framework, including working with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC).
Jas is currently Chair of the Sydney Institute for Marine Science Foundation and the NSW Inspiring Australia Initiative, and Executive Board Secretary for Science and Technology Australia. She is also collaborating with stakeholders to coordinate Australia’s efforts for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021 – 2030.
Principal Associate, Protecting Ocean Life on the High Seas / PhD Candidate The Pew Charitable Trusts / University of Wollongong
American, living in USA
Nichola works at the intersection of science, policy, and law at the Pew Charitable Trusts where she follows the negotiations at the United Nations for a new international treaty to protect the high seas. She is fascinated by the complex systems that govern the international ocean and is passionate about working to enable science-driven ocean governance that leads to a more equitable world. Nichola is also a PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong, where her research focuses on institutional arrangements for the High Seas Treaty. She holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from Duke University.
Hardware (Microfluidics) Engineer, Google-X
Iranian, living in San Francisco, CA, USA
Samira is an aerospace engineer turned fluid dynamicist; she is an expert in fluid flow at small scale: microfluidics. She enjoys building hardware within multidisciplinary teams, especially for biotech projects, where sci-fi dreams can come true. A few examples of her recent works are leading a team to develop point of care diagnostic devices for detection of COVID-19 using CRISPR, building a microfluidics platform for RNA/DNA synthesis, and developing a technology to 3D print human organs. Reading poetry, playing her cello, biking uphill and baking boring cakes are some of Samira’s favorite ways to feel grounded.
Program Officer, Andes-Amazon Initiative, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
American living in California, USA
Maria is an environmental anthropologist with over two decades of experience as a researcher and practitioner at the intersection of environmental conservation, sustainable development and human well-being. As a Program Officer in one of the United States’ largest private foundations, Maria is in charge of strategic grant making to ensure the long-term conservation of the Amazon. Prior to joining the foundation, Maria worked as a scientist at Earth Innovation Institute, where she led multi-stakeholder processes to set standards of engagement for indigenous peoples and local communities in forest conservation and climate change mitigation policies across the tropics. She has also worked as a researcher with Stanford University’s Social Ecology Lab and as a consultant to organisations such as The Nature Conservancy. Maria has lived and worked throughout Latin America, serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Paraguay, conducting field research in the Brazilian Amazon and the Maya Forest of Mexico, and building coalitions across civil society groups, indigenous’ peoples’ organisations and governments. She is passionate about contributing to a healthy and just planet. Maria holds a M.S. and Ph.D. in interdisciplinary ecology with a concentration in anthropology from the University of Florida and a B.A. in history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.
MD-PhD Candidate, California Institute of Technology - University of California
American, living in Los Angeles, CA, USA
Shannon is an a biochemist investigating the molecular basis of the immune response against viruses responsible for causing epidemics, including Zika, dengue, West Nile Virus, yellow fever virus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic. She earned her M.Phil. at the University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar and is currently in the UCLA-Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program. Apart from her research, Shannon enjoys reading, writing, playing piano, advocating for women in STEMM, and tutoring underserved students.
Research Software Engineer, Australian Astronomical Optics- Macquarie University
Sri Lanken living in Kirribilli, Australia
Nuwanthika is a Research Software Engineer, working with astronomical telescopes at the Australian Astronomical Optics- Macquarie University. She grew up in Sri Lanka, where she graduated from the University of Colombo, and completed her PhD in Astrophysics at the University of Sydney, Australia. She was an astronomy educator at the Sydney Observatory, where she loved doing public outreach programmes and educational tours for schools. Nuwanthika has also been involved in mentoring programmes for high school and undergraduate students in Sri Lanka. She’s seen the need to expose students, especially girls and young women, to the diverse opportunities a STEMM education can offer, and she’s keen to learn new and innovative ways to increase science literacy in the public.
Associate Professor, Physics/Astrophysics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
German, living in Cambridge, MA, USA
Anna is an astronomer and tenured professor at MIT (USA) who studies 13 billion year old stars in our home galaxy, the Milky Way. Her book Searching For The Oldest Stars details her discovery work and describes how she uses the world’s largest telescopes to uncover these ancient relics from the early universe. Anna’s specific interests center around gaining insights from old stars about how the chemical elements are made in stars, supernova explosions and merging neutron stars. She also has a decade long track record of mentoring young, aspiring scientists and recently created a course on professional skills and leadership strategies for MIT graduate students and postdocs in STEM fields. As a single mother to two young boys, they share in the joy of making crafts, biking, and traveling.
Image credit: Timo Wirsching.
PhD Candidate, Water and Land Resources, University of Alberta
Canadian, living in Calgary, Canada
Amy is a hydrologist interested in how water moves through a landscape; a curiosity sparked as a farm kid. Previous work has taken Amy to the Canadian Rocky Mountains and Tierra del Fuego. Her passion is to understand the hydrological and ecological processes that underlie the structure and function of ecosystems to solve complex watershed management issues to ensure water security and forest integrity into the future. Amy recognized that forests need more women to speak up for them. When not listening to trees, Amy adventures in a canoe or on skis, and knits when it is too cold outside.
Senior Policy Officer, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
Polish, living in Melbourne, Australia
Dr Paula Hanasz leads a team of policymakers who support the Victorian water sector in their climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. She is also the author of Transboundary Water Governance and International Actors in South Asia: The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Basin as well as numerous academic research papers on water security. Paula is Polish but has spent most of her life living and working internationally, and is now based in Melbourne, Australia.
Principal Geophysicist, Santos
Australian, living in Perth, Australia
Natasha is a scientist, volunteer, adventurer, mentor and advocate for women in leadership. She has her PhD in geophysics and is the recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship and Churchill Fellowship. Natasha has 25 years’ experience working in research, technical and leader roles across the energy industry. She is currently a Principal Geophysicist at Santos, working on quantitative seismic interpretation, digital transformation, and leadership development for the future of work. Natasha volunteers as a Board Advisor for Women Who Code, is a member of the Board for Australian Earth Science Education, and facilitates international leadership programs for Women Who Code and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. She is passionate about helping women in STEMM navigate a digital future where human leadership competencies are needed more than ever.
Biomedical researcher and medical student, UT Austin & LSUHSC-NO; Swadaroo (start-up)
American, living in New Orleans, Louisiana & Austin, Texas
Shivani is a neurogenetics researcher completing her medical clinical training. She is currently based out of both New Orleans, LA and Austin, TX, but she spent some of her childhood in India and has since then lived in Ecuador, Ghana, Haiti, Cameroon, France, and the UK where she studied at UCL and the University of Cambridge. A Marshall Scholar alumna, she holds graduate degrees in global health & economic development and epidemiology. She is also highly involved with biomimicry design and recently led a winning team in the Biomimicry Institute’s global challenge and launchpad accelerator for new start-ups. Shivani also works on initiatives to reduce waste and environmental hazards caused by health care infrastructure. She wants to lead by example to help others create a more unified, just world that cares about all members of the planet.
Biologist, Center for Engineered Therapeutics (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, United States), and Associate (Dept. of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, United States)
Indian, living in Boston, Massachusetts
Arpita is a cellular and developmental biologist interested in studying the underlying biological mechanisms that characterise normal development from disease, with the ultimate goal of aiding human therapeutics by translating this research into clinics. She received her PhD from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology (Tübingen, Germany), and subsequently moved to Harvard University for her postdoctoral work. Currently at the Center for Engineered Therapeutics, she develops novel biotechnologies against human diseases using an engineering in medicine approach. As a zoologist and field biologist, she is equally passionate about biodiversity conservation, ecosystem restoration and sustainability issues. She volunteers with the non-profit Ocean Alliance which works towards creating a healthier planet by protecting our wildlife, the oceans, and us from climate change. She has served as one of eLife’s Community Ambassadors, promoting, advocating and championing responsible behaviours in science globally (2019-2020), and as a Harvard Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (HGWISE) mentor to women in STEMM (2017-present). She is also creative, multilingual, a meditator, a traveler and an avid cook.
Compliance, Sustainability and Stakeholder Lead, Beon Energy Solutions
Australian, living in Melbourne, Australia
Kirsten is a passionate science communicator. After studying a double degree in Environmental Science and Communications, she went on to work in the civil construction industry in both environmental management and community engagement roles. But in 2016, she started a role in the renewable energy industry and found her new passion. By engaging, educating, and advocating for communities, Kirsten hopes to lead a clean energy transition that is both fair and equitable. Kirsten is also studying a Masters of Environment at the University of Melbourne, focusing on Education and Social Change, to broaden her skills and strategies in this area.
Moreangels Muchaneta Mbizah
Executive Director, Wildlife Conservation Action
Zimbabwean, living in Harare, Zimbabwe
Moreangels is the Founder and Executive Director of Wildlife Conservation Action. She is currently working at the intersection of conservation and community development. Moreangels received her Doctoral Degree in Zoology from the University of Oxford, UK, where she studied African lions. Her work on lions was featured in a National Geographic short film “One Woman’s Remarkable Journey to Protect Lions”. In 2019 Moreangels was awarded with TED Fellowship and gave a TED talk “How community led conservation can save wildlife” at the TED Conference. Moreangels is a consultant on various projects on conservation and community development in Zimbabwe and across Africa. She is also a Mandela Washington Fellow and is passionate about inspiring and mentoring Africa’s next generation of conservation leaders.
Fish and Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
American, living in Guam, USA
Toni is a biologist in the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office with a focus on rare, threatened and endangered species in the Mariana Islands. Her background in conservation biology has covered both terrestrial and marine systems with a soft spot for island ecology, where the overlap of these systems are essentially indistinguishable. Previous experience in research, natural resources management, science policy at both the state and national level, and science communication has given Toni broad experience to concentrate on collaborative approaches that effectively recover many species in the Marianas and restore ecosystem function.
Director of HI-SEAS, International Moonbase Alliance (IMA), Hawaii
Slovakian, living in Big Island, Hawaii, USA
Dr. Michaela Musilova is an astrobiologist and the Director of the HI-SEAS analog space station. Michaela studied and conducted research at the University of Bristol, University College London, California Institute of Technology, Chiba University, International Space University (ISU) and others. She worked for NASA, University of London Observatory, Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and was the Commander of over 20 simulated missions to the Moon and Mars. She is also a visiting Professor at the Slovak University of Technology, Vice-Chair of the Slovak Organisation for Space Activities (SOSA) and Adjunct Faculty at ISU.
Michaela has received numerous prizes and research grants, including the Emerging Space Leaders Grant from the International Astronautical Federation; Women in Aerospace – Europe Young Professional Award and she was selected as one of the most promising 30 under 30 by Forbes Slovakia.
She is also actively involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, as a patron of the program in Slovakia and an Emerging Leader Representative for Europe, Mediterranean and Arab states. Furthermore, Michaela regularly performs a variety of outreach activities, such as: teaching, presenting, working with media and being an Advisory Board Member of the STEM Punks educational programs.
Ngati Porou, Ngai Tahu
STEM Educator, Director, Tōnui Collab
New Zealander, living in Gisborne, New Zealand
Shanon is a STEM Educator, designing engaging STEM learning opportunities for children ages 5 – 18 years. Shanon holds a Bachelor of Information Systems and Masters of Contemporary Education. Committed to nurturing diversity and equity across the STEM fields, Shanon is involved in a number of projects that aim to expose young Māori to the opportunities in STEM. Through the Homeward Bound program Shanon hopes to amplify opportunities for tangata whenua to make positive impact on our changing world through STEM.
Research & Innovation Lead – Civil Service, UK
British living in Manchester, UK
Shakti is a technical specialist who is passionate about the power of technology for global good. Her interests lie at the intersection of science diplomacy, social justice, and sustainability. Her natural curiosity has led her to work internationally across industry, government and academia on a wide range of areas including science policy, technology R&D, artificial intelligence research, digital trust, and organisational change. Shakti’s career is driven by the scale of collaboration required to solve increasingly complex and interconnected global societal challenges. An aerospace engineer by background, Shakti leads a technology research & innovation team within the UK Civil Service.
Shakti believes good leaders are the ‘glue that hold people together.’ She is an ardent advocate of evidence-informed policymaking, and the power of diverse teams and perspectives within STEMM. Shakti values inclusive leadership and multidisciplinary, collaborative, cross-sector approaches to problem solving. In her spare time, she can be found letting loose creatively, often behind a potter’s wheel.
Consultant in Pharmaceutical Public Health, NHS Highland, Inverness, Scotland
British, living in Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Sharon is a Public Health Specialist focussing on the use of pharmaceuticals at population level, working in the NHS in Scotland. She holds a degree in Pharmacy, a Master of Public Health and a Diploma in Business Administration. Her portfolio includes trying to minimise the impact of pharmaceuticals on the environment, improving the health of animals and humans without damaging the health of the environment – a real One Health approach.
She is co-founder of the One Health Breakthrough Partnership, a unique multi-sector collaboration whose vision is a non-toxic environment.
In her spare time Sharon loves exploring nature with her dogs.
Support Sharon by visiting her fundraising page here.
Doctoral Researcher, Technical University of Munich
Indian, living in Munich, Germany
Shambhavi Pratap is a doctoral researcher investigating the stochastic processes occurring during phase transitions by empirical methods, which she has developed and deployed at large scale facilities. She works at the Physics department of the Technical University of Munich and was an ALS doctoral fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab (2018-2019). She currently lives in Munich, a city in the southern state of Bavaria in Germany but originally come from a city in India called Lucknow. She is looking forward to getting to know everyone’s stories and finding creative synergies during voyage Homeward Bound.
Gravitational-wave astrophysics PhD student, Monash University
British, living in Melbourne, Australia
Originally from the UK, Isobel now studies gravitational-wave astrophysics for her PhD in Melbourne, Australia. She studies the tiny ripples in space-time caused by black holes and neutron stars smashing into each other. Isobel works to increase the representation of women in STEMM through outreach activities and the IncludeHer movement. Previously, she volunteered with groups teaching young girls to code, and with others teaching the science of sustainable living to the general public. In her spare time Isobel makes art, writes, reads and explores. She recently self-published Planetymology, a book about the planets and the evolution of their names.
Support Isobel by visiting her fundraising page here.
Esther Sanchez de Leon Ley
PhD candidate, Weill Cornell Medicine
Spanish living in New York, USA
Esther is a PhD student at Weill Cornell Medicine. After getting her bachelor degree in Biology, she moved to New York with a Fulbright Scholarship to study a master’s degree at Mount Sinai. She is currently working on her thesis in the Petrini lab, where she is studying the machinery in charge of repairing DNA damage and its role in preventing cancer. Coming from a rural area, Esther is passionate about nature, and she has a strong interest in preserving the biodiversity in our planet. She is also committed to making scientific research more sustainable.
Glaciologist, Director of Outreach at the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative and Fellow International of The Explorers Club
Dr. Heïdi Sevestre is a glaciologist, Director of Outreach at the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative and Fellow International of The Explorers Club. She travels regularly to the polar regions and highest mountains of the world to better understand how glaciers react to climate change. Through her work, she aims to bridge the gap between science and policy-makers, and between science and society. She is currently leading two science outreach project: Climate Sentinels, a team of female scientists skiing across Svalbard in April 2021, and The Last Tropical Glaciers, an educational project on the most endangered glaciers on Earth.
Research Leader, RAND Europe
British, living in Girton, UK
Harriet is a multidisciplinary researcher interested in the future of healthcare, in a system that focuses on health rather than disease management. She originally trained as a chemist at the University of Oxford, before embarking on a career at the interface between research and policy, first at Cancer Research UK, then as an empirical researcher, then Deputy Director, at the Centre for Health, Law and Emerging Technologies (HeLEX) (University of Oxford), and most recently as a Research Leader at RAND Europe (an independent not-for-profit research organisation). Her research explores how new technologies make health more accessible, while ensuring no one gets left behind.
Support Harriet by visiting her fundraising page here.
Geophysicist, Petroleum GeoServices Company
Columbian living in Oslo, Norway
Paloma was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia. Driven by her passion for physics and the understanding of our planet, after earning her bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering, she moved to Europe to pursue graduate studies in Applied Geophysics. She is currently working in oil and gas exploration but, determined to switch paths towards sustainability, soon will provide geophysical support to the Norwegian state-owned energy company, on the installation of windfarms in the North Sea. She is looking forward to keep developing her leadership skills while improving the visibility of women in decision making that will impact the course of our current energy industry, like meeting the growing demand for cleaner and more affordable energy in an efficient and more responsible manner.
Co-Founder and Transportation Sector Lead, Third Derivative
Chinese living in New York, USA
Hara Wang is the Co-Founder and Transportation Sector Lead of Third Derivative. Third Derivative is a collaboration among Rocky Mountain Institute, New Energy Nexus, and a global network of venture capital and corporate partners to fund, hone and scale breakthrough climate technologies, and supports ~50 startups from around the world each year. Originally from Shanghai, China, Hara Wang earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and her M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University. She has spent all her career in energy transition and climate tech innovations. Prior to Third Derivative, she was an early-stage cleantech investor with Braemar Energy Ventures and a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company. She has a keen interest in planet-positive technologies for tough-to-abate sectors and for the bottom 80%.
Researcher Development Concordat Officer, University of Strathclyde, Gla
German living in Glasgow, United Kingdom
Maria completed her PhD in Physics in the UK and Germany, where she investigated how to make particle accelerators more compact and therefore accessible to new applications and users. Since then, she has worked as a project manager on international science collaborations and as a researcher developer supporting the work culture and career opportunities for early career researchers. Maria is passionate about connecting science with policy and decision-making and is excited to see what opportunities her involvement with Homeward Bound will create towards this goal.
Support Maria by visiting her fundraising page here.
PhD candidate in Environmental Policy Research, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London
Chinese living in London and Beijing
Yurong is a PhD candidate at Imperial College. She was originally trained to be a social scientist and an economist in Beijing, China. After her master’s at Columbia University, and internship with WWF Beijing and Wildlife Conservation Society NY, she shifted her interest to wildlife conservation. Yurong’s PhD focuses on investigating how transportation infrastructures pose potential risks to regional biodiversity on a global scale. The overall goal is to create a new evidence-based way of assessing the impacts and then develop a global wildlife conservation policy framework.
Product manager, BKW Energie
French and Greek, living in Berne, Switzerland
Meropi is a civil engineer who works as a product manager. She develops and launches software and hardware solutions to make renewable energy affordable in residential and commercial buildings. She has a technical and business background: she graduated as a civil engineer in France and continued her studies with a MSc. in economics and modelling at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands.
Meropi is passionate about agile product development and intuitive user experiences to spread the use of solar energy in buildings. From her long experience on football/soccer fields, she fosters collaboration, ambition and creativity among teams. She launched one of the first spin-off company in Switzerland to enable tenants to benefit for self-consumed solar power.
Abeer Al Saud
Chair, The Sustainable Development Association (talga)
Saudi living in Saudi Arabia
Abeer is an international development professional with culture and heritage, peace-building, and NGOs expertise. She has experience with key multilateral/international development organisations and funds and national/regional agencies (UN agencies, USAID, DFID, SIDA, JICA, GiZ, IsDB, SFD, SMEPs, SFD, AFESD).
Abeer currently chairs The Sustainable Development Association (talga), which aims to localise and culturalise the SDGs in alignment with Vision 2030 & the Saudi Quality of Life Program. Currently, she is working on projects that serve socio-economic & environmental prosperity in planting more trees to reduce the effects of desertification and applying new economical models that promote zero carbon emissions such as the methods of the blue economy and the circular carbon economy. Abeer is passionate about dedicating her lifetime to projects that will preserve and bring life back to endangered species, land and the planet.
Additionally, Abeer is a multi-faceted creative, inspired by her surroundings and what she calls her “Cosmic Desert” adventures in Saudi and throughout Arabia, she produces art on canvas utilising the available magical natural materials. She is also a certified RYA Day Skipper sailor, a horse rider, an experienced hiker, and a collector of Indochina/Contemporary Islamic art.
Director Groundwater Management, Murray Darling Basin Authority
American and Australian citizen, living in Australia
Kristanne is a civil engineer and marine ecology enthusiast currently working in inland water management in Australia. She grew up in Juneau Alaska within the rain forests of the Tongass National Forest, but currently lives in the driest inhabited continent on earth and is passionate about managing water resources sustainably. In recent years, she has been working in groundwater management and has been inspired by Australian Aboriginal people who understand the necessity of the resource for survival. It has been said that Kristanne’s most defining characteristic is her deep desire to grow, learn and be challenged. Her passions are her three sons and smoked salmon.
Co-founder and Mentor, Equilateral Foundation
Jordanian/British, living in Cambridge, UK
Maya grew up in Jordan and obtained her bachelor’s and master’s in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge. After specialising in medicinal chemistry and graduating in 2013, she worked on the safety of novel medicines for over five years before she became a science communications manager at the global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Maya mentors young students in STEMM as part of an organisation she co-founded in London, the Equilateral Foundation. In her free time, she enjoys photography – her photography has been featured in international press and exhibited worldwide.
Support Maya by visiting her website here.
PhD Candidate, Arizona State University
American-Israeli, living in Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S.A.
Following a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and M.S. in Water Resources Engineering, Noa spent several years in industry developing environmental sensors for water quality, soil moisture, agriculture, and weather stations. In an endless pursuit to broaden horizons, she decided to supplement her engineering career with a PhD in the social sciences. She now studies public engagement with environmental issues, and her dissertation involves perceptions of natural resource extraction. A first-generation American, Noa likes to take advantage of the diverse landscapes of the US. When not conducting research, she can be found whitewater rafting the rivers of the American West.
PhD Student in Astrophysics with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) at Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology
Indian, living in Melbourne, Australia
Debatri is a PhD student in astrophysics, working with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery. Her research focusses on modelling mergers of massive dead stellar bodies (black holes and neutron stars), that creates tiny ripples in the very fabric of space-time, termed “gravitational waves”. She holds a master’s degree in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. Extremely passionate about her research, she envisions to bring more gender and racial diversity in STEMM. She passionately seeks to contribute to human knowledge through her scientific research and also aspires to encourage younger girls to pursue science. She considers it her responsibility to utilize opportunities for the betterment of earth and the human society.
Support Debatri by visiting her fundraising page here.
Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science Professor of Kinesiology, University of Lethbridge, Canada
Canadian, living in Canada
Jennifer is an exercise physiologist and studies the effects of physical activity and sedentary behaviour on healthy ageing. She is enthusiastic about community-engaged research and a major goal of her program is knowledge translation. Jennifer’s work is also motivated by the strong connections between active living and a sustainable lifestyle. In her current role, she is committed to fostering high quality, publicly funded, post-secondary education because education, research, and innovation are the only way to solve the problems facing our world. Although she loves her work, Jennifer is happiest when she is outside, hiking, trail running, skiing, or camping.
Gudrun De Boeck
Professor, University of Antwerp
Belgian, living in Belgium
As a child Gudrun got inspired by the ocean explorations of Jacques Cousteau and wanted to become a whale biologist. She became a fish physiologist instead, studying the effects of environmental changes on marine and freshwater fish. Her research brought her all over the world as she finds it fascinating how fish can survive under the most extreme circumstances. Yet humankind managed to threaten even the sturdiest species such as the majestic shark. Her new goals are to protect rivers and oceans, be an inspiration and mentor for future women in STEMM, and battle science denial.
Support Gudrun by visiting her fundraising page here.
Senior clinician and lecturer in Equine Internal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa
German, living in South Africa
Christina is a veterinary specialist in equine internal medicine and equine cardiology. Alongside her clinical work, lecturing and teaching is an integral part of her career. She is passionate about teaching and promotes the integration of the One Health approach into veterinary education. Christina is an active researcher in the field of equine cardiology. She has written several publications and enjoys speaking at international conferences. Originally from a small town in Germany, she now calls South Africa’s coast home where she enjoys the outdoors with her fiancé and their adopted dog Joey.
Scientific officer, European Food Safety Authority
Spanish, living in Parma, Italy
Julia an environmental toxicologist working at the European Food Safety Authority as a scientific project coordinator in the areas of food and feed safety. She has been working for over 10 years as a scientific officer mainly in environmental and consumer risk assessment in other regulatory EU bodies: the EU medicines agency and also the chemicals agency. She received her PhD from the University of Birmingham – UK, and before moving to Italy for her latest post in 2020, she studied and worked mostly and in the UK, US and Finland. Julia is inspired by the message of Homeward Bound and believes that in our changing planet, bringing people together to work for a common good is the most powerful way to inspire and encourage all of us to embrace challenges facing the world and our communities.
Junior Leader, La Caixa Postdoctoral Fellow, Institut de Ciencies del Cosmos, Universitat de Barcelona
Spanish, living in Barcelona, Spain
Anna Ferre-Mateu is an astrophysicist that studies how galaxies form and evolve. This quest has taken her to live, literally, all around the globe: Canaries, Hawaii, Australia and since 2018 she is back in Barcelona. Nature-lover, avid traveler, adventure addicted and cancer survivor, one of the places she is more in awe is atop ancient volcanos observing the Universe from the telescopes. These facilities are mostly located in pristine and very fragile environments. Her hope for HB6 is to gain the necessary skills to become more vocal and present into developing a next generation of observatories that are both culture and environmentally appropriate, while learning on the journey on how to be a true leader in STEMM… and while living one of the greatest adventures of all, Antartica!
Coral Reef Research Officer, Institute of Marine Affairs,Trinidad and Tobago
Trinbagonian, living in Trinidad and Tobago
Anjani Ganase is a coral reef ecologist at the Institute of Marine Affairs in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T). Her research focuses on assessing coral reef resilience and advises on strategies to reduce the threats corals face. Anjani is part of an NGO called SpeSeas that uses innovative tools to educate about the marine ecosystems around T&T. She is the Project Operator of the Maritime Ocean Collection, the first online collection of Streetview imagery of Tobago’s reefs. Anjani is also a weekly columnist for the local newspaper, the Tobago Newsday, and writes about the marine world and their connections to us.
Gurutzeta Guillera Arroita
Senior Lecturer, School of Biosciences, University of Melbourne
Spanish, living in Melbourne, Australia
Gurutzeta started her career as Telecom Engineer working for the industry. A year-long trip around the world motivated her to contribute to positive change. Since then, she specialises in Ecological Modelling and Statistics. She develops, applies and tests novel quantitative methods to obtain better information about the status of biodiversity, and through this, support conservation and management decisions. Her research provides ecologists and managers with tools and competence to collect and analyse relevant data rigorously and efficiently. She works at the University of Melbourne, where she teaches and supervises, aspiring to become a role model for female and international students.
Post doctoral research, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Belgian, living in South Africa
Céline is curious, passionate, fierce, and she has big dreams and hopes. She comes from Belgium, but she now calls South Africa home. She is first and foremost a fish ecologist but also a hiker, musician, and crafter. Her research focuses on African freshwater eels, which are long-distance migratory fish. Céline is passionate about these secretive creatures, which are indicator species: how well they fare depends on how well we manage our water resources. Her work got her particularly interested in ecological connectivity, and she’s profoundly committed to connecting people, rivers, and fish.
Support Céline by visiting her fundraising campaign here.
Hailee Elida Hettrick
GN&C Engineer, The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory
American, living in Boston, Massachusetts
Hailee is a guidance, navigation, and control engineer, with an applied focus on spacecraft and launch vehicles. Her research interests include autonomous rendezvous and docking of spacecraft as well as vision-based navigation; both areas are critical for the further advancement of space-based operations that will address global environmental issues. She grew up in Southern California, completed a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University and a Master’s in Aerospace Engineering at MIT, and now works full-time in the Boston area. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, running, yoga, and reading.
Professor, Sustainable Engineering Group
Australian, living in Perth, Australia
Michele John is the Director of the Sustainable Engineering Group (SEG), Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia. Michele’s teaching and research encompasses a wide spectrum of disciplines including life cycle engineering, climate change, renewable energy, waste management and sustainability education. Michele’s research interests include the development of multi and trans-disciplinary sustainability education with a focus on current global sustainability problems and the technology, stewardship values and governance models required to solve them.
Annie Georgina Langston-Cox
Medical Doctor and Research Scientist, Royal Darwin Hospital and The Ritchie Centre
Australian, living in Darwin, Australia
Annie is a medical doctor and research scientist. She completed a translational PhD in obstetric medicine. Annie investigated novel therapies for preeclampsia – a disease of pregnancy carrying the highest maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality worldwide, due largely to limited therapeutic options. Her PhD began in the lab as discovery science experiments before culminating in a large randomised controlled trial. Annie has since relocated to Darwin, NT where she will work as a junior doctor before continuing her career by training in, and researching, obstetric medicine. More recently, Annie is working on projects to better understand the health challenges facing Australia’s Indigenous women. Annie is passionate about improving health outcomes for pregnant women and their babies and hopes to dedicate her career to research in women’s health. Through the Homeward Bound program Annie aims to grow her leadership and public communication capabilities. With the assistance of this program Annie hopes to develop her skills, knowledge and confidence as an effective leader with the aim of becoming involved in policy and decision making around women’s health. As a scuba Dive-master, Annie is passionate about environmental awareness and has recently joined the Darwin triathlon community. Annie is looking forward to learning from all the inspirational women who make up the HB6 cohort!
Director - Community Partnerships, Great Barrier Reef Foundation
Australian, living in Brisbane, Australia
Inspired by an Indo-Pacific reef experience in Palau, Jenn moved from Washington DC to Australia to pursue a career at the interface of science and community engagement for healthy reefs. After a decade in grassroots reef conservation and reef citizen science, she currently works with a range of partners to design and deliver community-driven Reef protection programs. Jenn has led field research teams, STEM youth education, a successful Mission Blue Hope Spot nomination, and community leadership programs, all powered by people dedicated to our oceans. While recognising the scale of the conservation challenge we face, her hope is fuelled by the dedication and innovation of community champions. She believes that a more resilient future in the face of climate change requires new ways of collaboration, leadership and inspiring action to care for people and the environment. Jenn enjoys silversmithing, SCUBA diving, and curating the indoor jungle of 100+ plants that live on her back porch.
Senior Research Scientist, Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
Australian, living in Brisbane Australia
Kirsten Maclean is Senior Research Scientist (Human Geographer) at CSIRO. She uses participatory co-research practices for sustainable and innovative planning and management of cultural and natural resources in Australia. Her work supports research and innovation across Indigenous, government and industry sectors. It creates opportunities for Reconciliation via the protection of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property and aims to generate immediate and ongoing benefits for Indigenous Australians. Kirsten is passionate about championing change for women and girls in science. She believes leadership for change takes many forms including, for example, breaking down perceptions about careers in science and STEMM and sparking the curiosity of her two young daughters as they explore their world.
South African Sailor, Polar Explorer and Climate Change Activist
African, living in Johannesburg
What started out as a dare has led her to endless possibilities and to her personal legend.
Lungi Mchunu is a Sailor, Polar Explorer and Climate Change Activist known to many as the first African female to sail to the Arctic. She has battled fear, pushed past her limiting beliefs and social conditioning, hitched a ride to the ends of the earth, came face to face with death yet she’s still filled with love, enthusiasm and determination to continue her climate change advocacy and highlighting the importance of the polar regions to the rest of the planet. She’s currently working towards completing her Pole to Pole ambitions with her training commencing with the Arctic Circle trail in Greenland during the peak of winter in 2021 and sailing around the world solo in the next edition of the Vendee Globe.
Environmental Modeller, International Centre for Tropical Agriculture
Kenyan, living in Nairobi, Kenya
Jess is an Environmental Modeller at the Alliance of Biodiversity and CIAT and is part of the Tropical Forages Team in Nairobi, Kenya. She assesses the environmental impacts of improved forage systems in smallholder mixed crop-livestock farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Jess loves all things related to nature. She is a vegetarian, loves reading, cooking, and traveling.
Research Fellow. Synthetic Biology and Industrial Biotechnology, Queensland University of Technology
Argentinian, living in Brisbane, Australia
Laura is a synthetic biologist specialising in industrial biotechnology. Her work focuses on the design of novel biological tools to address real-world challenges and the use of enzymes for technological developments. Laura completed her bachelor’s degree in biotechnology and her PhD at the National University of Rosario, Argentina. In 2014, she moved to Australia to conduct postdoctoral research. Since then, Laura has worked across the interface between science and industry, applying novel enzymes for textile recycling and the generation of value-added products from industrial waste. Currently, she is working on the design of new functionalities in textiles using synthetic biology. Laura has a passion for improving our industries, changing the way we make things, innovating, designing and building with biology to create impact and drive our planet towards a circular economy. Laura deeply believes that pushing forward the boundaries of knowledge requires collaborative efforts and supportive networks.
Chancellor's Fellow, University of Strathclyde
Mexican, living in Scotland, UK
Stephanie is a mechanical engineer interested in developing sustainable solutions to meet our growing energy demands. Her line of research is focused on the offshore renewable energy sector and particularly, undertaking experimental research in marine energy converters to analyse performance and dynamic loading. She is a member of the technical committees of the European Wave and Tidal Energy (EWTEC) and the Pan-American Marine Energy Conferences (PAMEC). She encourages young females to study STEMM areas through her involvement in the US-Mexico foundation initiative “Mujeres líderes en STEAM”. She enjoys walking her two dachshunds, wild swimming and running.
Support Stephanie by visiting her fundraising page here.
Director, Centre of Research Excellence in Medicines Intelligence
Australian, living in Sydney, Australia
Sallie is a pharmacoepidemiologist and medicines policy researcher. She is a leading authority in leveraging population-level ‘big data’ to examine the use and impact of prescribed medicines in routine clinical care. Sallie designs research to inform clinical and policy practice. Sallie is passionate about capacity building and growing talent in science. Sallie was inspired to join Homeward Bound to be part of a network of women leaders who value science, evidence and collaboration in responding to global issues. When she is not working, Sallie loves swimming and spending time with her family, in particular her nephew and six nieces – many of whom are aspiring scientists.
Climate change manager, Arapyaú Foundation
Brazilian, living in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Renata Piazzon is the Climate Change manager of Arapyaú Foundation, which aims to contribute to building a society that reconciles socioeconomic development with environmental conservation, and general secretary of the Amazon Concertation, an initiative that aims to institutionalise a plural and democratic debate in Brazil for the sustainable development of the Amazon region. With more than 10 years of experience as an environmental lawyer, Renata graduated from PUC-SP, Schumacher College and Amani Institute and has a master’s degree in Environmental Law in the area of sustainable finance. She is a member of the Advisory Board of Instituto Akatu, of the Climate Reality Project and co-founder of two social innovation projects and was awarded by Chambers Latin America, Who’s Who Legal, The Legal 500 and ABRAPS Award as the professional who best represented the UN SDG 9 in Brazil in 2017.
Medical Practitioner, Annandale General Practice
Australian, living in Sydney Australia
Liz is an Integrative Medico, with an interest in environmental illness. She has worked with environmental groups from the 70’s with Paddlers for Peace and with Greenpeace, as ship’s medic/activist with involvement in actions including North Sea Oil drilling, oil dumping in the Baltic, leading to imprisonment with other Greenpeace activists, nationwide protests and legislation changes. She was also involved in the early days of the first feminist women’s health centre in Australia and one of the founding members of the Australian Lesbian Medical Association, and part of the 7 year struggle for ALMA to gain special consultative status with ECOSOC.
Katherine Salazar Alekseyeva
PhD candidate, Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology, University of Vienna, Austria
Ecuadorian-Russian living in Vienna, Austria
Katherine is a marine microbiologist. Her interest in microorganisms and biogeochemical cycles has taken her to focus her research on the ecology of marine fungi, especially from the Atlantic and Southern Oceans. Her research at a microscopic scale is contributing to the knowledge and awareness of oceans as part of our “global home”. Katherine is originally from Quito – Ecuador and has a Russian background. After having been involved in scientific projects in Ecuador, Germany, Finland, and Austria, she expects to meet fellow STEM and to continue building awareness on global topics.
Geography PhD student, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC)
Brazilian living in Florianópolis, Brazil
Gabriela is an oceanographer passionate about conservation, coastal management, governance and policy. With a diverse background, she started working with marine ecology during her academic exchange at the University of Western Australia. Once back to Brazil, she finished her bachelor studies and, looking for a way to apply her science, started her masters in coastal management. During that period, her research focused on the management of the coastal archaeological heritage. Now, for her PhD, Gabi is part of the Brazilian team that works on MISSION ATLANTIC, an EU-funded project that will map and assess the present and future status of Atlantic marine ecosystems under the influence of climate change and exploitation.
Other research interests include marine protected areas, ecosystem services, beach management, the effects of human activities on coastal and marine habitats and the interaction between environmental and social sciences.
Outside the academy, Gabi is an enthusiast for diving, hiking, fishing, tennis, soccer and culture.
Niamh Brigid Shaw
STEAM Communicator - Writer- Connecting Space with sustainability on Earth, CEO Niamh Shaw Ltd
Irish living in Ireland and France
Niamh is a passionate advocate of sustainability, equality and geographical diversity. Inspired by the ‘Earthrise’ picture taken on Christmas Eve 1968 by the Apollo 8 astronauts orbiting the Moon, Niamh wants to use the perspective of space to consider smarter and more sustainable alternatives for all Earth citizens.
In response to the COVID pandemic, she recently launched a new podcast series ‘Humans of Space’ on Spotify and Apple Podcast, a relaxed and warm chat with guests from the space sector every week to highlight the interdisciplinary, international and inclusivity message of space. She presents space and Earth-themed content for younger viewers on RTÉ televisions ‘Home School Hub’ and ‘After School Hub’ programmes, as advocate for equal access to education. A recent graduate of practical science communication at Cambridge University, Niamh was awarded ‘Outstanding contributions to STEM Communications’ by Science Foundation Ireland in 2018. On a mission to be writer-in-residence at the International Space Station, she has spoken at prominent events including the Irish President’s residence (Áras an Uachtaráin) on International Women’s Day 2019, the Department of Foreign Affairs Dublin on St Brigids Day 2020, WIRED Live UK, TEDxUCD and New Scientist (UK) and has appeared on Irish television’s top shows ‘The Late Late Show’ and ‘The Tommy Tiernan Show’.
Her first book ‘Dream Big- an Irishwoman’s Space Odyssey’ from Mercier Press was published in March 2020 and launched virtually during Space week. She writes regularly for BBC’s Sky at Night magazine and contributes science segments on national radio.
Behavioural Scientist, CEO and Founder of Humaneering and Senior MBA lecturer, Kaplan University
Australian and British, living in Sydney, Australia
Dr Juliette Tobias-Webb is a Behavioural Scientist, CEO and Founder of Humaneering, and one of 60 Australian women nominated as a ‘Superstar in STEM’. Juliette uses psychological and neuroscientific insights to help organisations design better for human decision making and behaviour.
Juliette has a PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Cambridge. She enjoyed stints as a lecturer and research officer at globally-renowned institutions including the University of British Columbia, the University of Sydney, Bond University, and Kaplan University. She has also published a number of journal articles in leading psychology and neuroscience journals.
Commercially, Juliette has worked for a range of leading government and corporate organisations to develop programs of work encouraging and measuring positive behaviour change. She was a Senior Manager in Behavioural Science for Commonwealth Bank, the Behaviour Change Lead for Ogilvy Australia and a Research Fellow for the Behavioural Insights Team. As the Founder and CEO of Humaneering, Juliette now works with clients such as Atlassian and Citibank. Juliette also teaches an evidenced-based MBA Leadership course that covers topics such as empowerment, motivation, resilience, wellbeing and equality through organisational design.
Founder & Managing Director, Vice Chair, Digital Biology & Medicine, Co-Founder, Self Employed
American living in Palo Alto, California, USA
Dr. Tiffany Vora is an American educator, writer, research scientist, and entrepreneur who lives in Silicon Valley, California. She is currently Faculty and Vice Chair of Medicine and Digital Biology at Singularity University, a global learning and innovation community that’s using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s great challenges. She is the founder of Bayana Science, a consulting company focused on science communication. Tiffany is also honoured to be a Nonresident Fellow at the GeoTech Center within the Atlantic Council, where she helps bring together new technologies and data that empower people, prosperity, and peace.
Chemical Engineer, MatCom and Wyman SC
Chilean living in Santiago Chile
Valentina is a chemical engineer interested in promoting the research and development projects with a focus on natural resource management and climate change. Although young age, Valentina has successfully explored a variety of areas exercising her profession.
She has experience as a researcher, engineer in food and mining company, university lecturer and entrepreneur. Her experience has been fundamental to value the contribution of innovation based in R&D activities to improve the industrial proccesses with a sustainability approach.
Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town
Over the last 20 years Gina’s work has focused on climate change adaptation and social development across scales from the household to municipal level in southern Africa. She is interested in the governance of urban adaptation and links to social justice and resilience. Gina is particularly passionate about transdisciplinary projects that bring together civil society, government and academics to seek transformative solutions that address both environmental and social challenges. She serves on the City of Cape Town’s Water Resilience Advisory Section 80 Committee and is a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment report. Gina loves the outdoors, owls, chameleons and the colour green.
Customer Experience Champion and Coach, Hastings Deering Australia
New Zealander permanently living in Australia
Karen is a pioneer for women in STEMM. One of Australia’s first female graduate Mechanical Engineers, she has worked four decades in the resource sector as a change leader with a focus on sales culture, customer experience and strategic partnerships. With many “first female in industry” titles under her belt she is now passionate about creating fully inclusive workplaces and finding ways to connect multi-generational mentors to young girls who will be the next wave of female STEMM leaders. Karen is an adventure traveler, keen photographer, and lover of penguins. She leads with the belief that we can all make work fun!
Independent consultant, UNDP, FAO
Brazilian and German citizen, living in Brazil
Dr. Simone is an environmental economist with over 15 years of international work experience on climate change, land use, and sustainability. She currently works as an independent consultant for organisations such as the GCF, UNDP and FAO, overseeing the preparation and execution of projects on these topics in several Latin American countries.
Simone is passionate about linking climate change and biodiversity conservation, firmly believing we need to rethink our definition of development to ensure it is sustainable. She currently lives in an ecovillage in Brazil, implementing these great ideas on the ground, putting theory acquired through work into practice.
Professor-Immunology, Murdoch University, Western Australia
Cassie is a Perth local and completed her PhD-Microbiology from University of Western Australia. Her curiosity of invisible killer microbes drove her to excel in this research field. With training from National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases USA, she designed live influenza vaccines. Her creativity and innovation led to cofounding a company on bird flu vaccine markers. She is passionate about educating people with truths about viruses and the impact of human behaviour on emerging infectious diseases. Cassie inspires girls in STEM and entrepreneurship. She enjoys being a devoted mother to three sons along with her chocolate labrador.
Production Manager, Incitec Pivot Ltd.
Australian, living in Brisbane, Australia
Hannah is a chemical engineer working as a Production Manager for a leading global industrial chemicals manufacturer. She leverages her experience to encourage STEMM study and inspire and support others to rise to new challenges. She is an energetic, young leader in a male-dominated industry and sees her purpose as unlocking potential and helping others see and value all forms of diversity, such that they can come together to make better, future-minded decisions. She values and embodies courageous leadership and has built a reputation for her technical ability combined with her collaborative leadership style to meet and resolve people challenges that have previously been unchallenged.
PhD Candidate, MIT Media Lab
Chinese, living in MA, USA
Huili is a multi-disciplinary AI researcher and interactive storytelling designer. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree at MIT Media Lab in the US for robotics and human-AI interaction. She grew up in Guizhou, a mountainous province in China. Driven by her curiosity to explore the human relationship with the land, she aided in rescuing wild animals in Costa Rica, studied water pollution in West Virginia, and explored innovative education in rural Zambia. She always ponders how computing technologies would impact indigenous communities and the planet, and how to fight for more sustainable ways of developing and using technology.
Principal Geoscientist, Basin Scope Consulting
Australian, living in Fremantle, Western Australia
Jane is a geologist specialising in plate tectonics, geophysics, earthquakes, tsunamis, and natural hazard mitigation. She has worked in a variety of roles in minerals, environment and energy industries, and spent seven years with UNESCO assisting with implementation of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System. Her current research interests include recent tectonics on the southern and western margins of Australia, submarine landslides and tsunamis on Australia’s southern margin, and using geophysical methods to better understand the distribution of radioactive fallout following nuclear testing. Jane enjoys sharing her passion for science through teaching, mentoring and media outreach.
Senior energy analyst, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
Irish, living in Ireland
Emer has over a decade of experience as an energy analyst working for both national and international energy agencies. A keen environmentalist with a strong social conscience, Emer is an enthusiastic proponent of the clean energy and sustainability agendas. She is currently responsible for national energy projections at the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.
Initially qualifying as an electronic engineer, Emer now holds both a Masters and PhD in Energy Engineering from University College Cork, Ireland. Emer loves everything to do with plants; growing, cooking, eating and all their sensory surprises and goodness.
Nursery and Communications Manager, Sound Native Plants, Olympia, Washington, USA
American living in Washington, USA
Samantha researches the illuminating relationships that native plants maintain between their ecosystem, climate, and people. Her conviction is that vital environmental health solutions are based in community knowledge and empowered by the scientific method. Her spark was ignited at a youth-led sustainable farm in Rwanda, and given oxygen as she engaged with the Working Group on Girls at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 2012. Earning dual degrees in economic botany and montane ecology from The Evergreen State College, Samantha’s work is interdisciplinary and community-powered. She mentors students, manages a native plant nursery, and volunteers avidly in the Pacific Northwest, United States. When Samantha is not working with plants, she is writing about them, crawling among them, or creating botanical art.
PhD Candidate, Stem Cell Bioprocessing Laboratory, McGill University
Canadian, living in Tio’tia:ke (Montréal), Canada
Stephanie (Nia) is currently a PhD Candidate researching cell therapy for type 1 diabetes. Their background is in Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering and they are passionate about the intersection between social work and STEMM. Nia has been an advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), accessibility, and sustainability in academia and seeks to carry this forward in their future scientific career. Through the Homeward Bound program, Nia hopes to empower other womxn of colour who are striving to amplify their voices in STEMM. Outside of work, Nia is inspired by travel, nature, and the creative arts.
Environmental Educator, Tampas Bay Watch
American, living in St. Petersburg, FL, USA.
Jordan has a diverse background in environmental education, conservation, and community engagement. She holds a B.A. in Zoology and M.A. in Biology from Miami University. Her graduate studies focused on human impact on the environment in Baja California, Australia, and Kenya. As the Education Program Coordinator at Tampa Bay Watch, Jordan develops science curricula and facilitates immersive field programs aiming to foster environmental stewardship. She is passionate about helping shape the future by empowering youth to act and achieve. Her appetite for life and growth motivates her to seize every opportunity for adventure and new experiences.
Senior Research Scientist, Tech Lead Quantum Device Packaging
American living in Santa Barbara, California, USA
Marissa Giustina is a senior research scientist who works with a team in Santa Barbara, California toward building a useful quantum computer. Giustina studied electrical and materials engineering at Dartmouth College (USA) before pursuing a PhD in experimental quantum information at the University of Vienna (Austria). Giustina’s thesis was published in 2016 and focused on systems she designed and built for conscientiously testing Bell’s inequality using entangled optical photons. A hybrid “quantum applied philosopher” and passionate engineer of efficient systems, Giustina wears many technical hats. She is also a highly-sought speaker for both technical and lay audiences.
Research Scientist, Photographer, Filmmaker
Brazilian living in Brazil
Inaê Guion is a biologist and visual storyteller whose work focuses on the intersection between nature, humans and conservation. With over a decade experience as a researcher, field explorer and photographer, she addresses topics on wild animals conservation, human-wildlife coexistence, traditional cultures, natural resources exploitation and climate change. She also works as an environmental consulting mainly for energy projects, with experience in wildlife inventory and monitoring in tropical waters and forests. Inaê obtained a PhD in Applied Ecology from Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil) and a Master in Sciences. In pursuit of raising awareness for environmental issues she infuses her passion for photography, film and for the great outdoors into her work as a scientist. Recently founded Kākou, dedicated to the development of multidisciplinary projects and initiatives aimed for biodiversity conservation and environmental justice.
Katharina F Heil
Scientific Project Manager, Universitat de Barcelona
German, living in Barcelona, Spain
Dr. Katharina Heil is a Bioinformatician working as the Scientific Project Manager of European research projects. This role allows her to shape and enable interdisciplinary research across Europe and globally, and benefits from her excellent communication skills. She received a joint PhD from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland/UK and KTH, Sweden in 2017.
As the current President of the Erasmus Mundus Association, she advocates for Higher Education and shapes its future. She’s a role model for many young internationals and convinced about the impact of education, especially in STEMM. Katharina sees knowledge as a key enabler to develop a global understanding of the need for action towards environmental protection and climate change.
Helle Bernstorf Hydeskov
Doctoral Candidate, Nottingham Trent University
Danish, living in Southwell, United Kingdom
Helle is a wildlife veterinarian and One Health researcher. She is currently a Doctoral Candidate studying health effects of lead (Pb) in Scandinavian brown bears (Ursus arctos). Helle is a European Veterinary Specialist in Wildlife Population Health and has worked in 20 countries as a veterinarian with multiple stakeholders including military, governments and non-governmental organisations. She has a strong passion for teaching and she is part of the team delivering the teacher training for postgraduate researchers at Nottingham Trent University.
Support Helle by visiting her fundraising page here.
Research Fellow (Food Policy and Law), The George Institute for Global Health
Australian, living in Sydney, Australia
Alexandra is a lawyer and public health researcher working to improve the global food supply.
Food is the cause of many of the world’s biggest health and environmental challenges, but it is also key to overcoming them.
Ali’s work fuses law and science to generate evidence that supports policymakers to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate effective regulatory strategies to promote human and planetary health.
She has previously worked on global tobacco control, and in health and human rights.
Beyond her academic pursuits, Ali is passionate about getting women on bikes in nature.
Postdoctoral researcher, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Mexican, living in Ontario, Canada
Linda Lara holds a PhD in Toxicology from the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) in Quebec, Canada; expert in toxicology, health/environment, epidemiology, and climate change. Currently a postdoctoral fellow in SARS-CoV-2 surveillance in wastewater at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). Formerly a full-time professor at the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC) in charge of the Toxicology area, field experience in the Lacandon Rain Forest, Cloud Forest, and boreal forests; as well as community work in indigenous communities in Latin America. Passionate about promoting diversity in STEM and is an active member of Científico Latino, Women Leaders in STEAM (U.S.- Mexico Leaders Network), and Full Member of OWSD (The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World); of the 2030 Agenda for the SDGs is Ambassador of My World Mexico and ExpertODS (SDSN Mexico); of Climate Change (Climate Reality Leader); of Science Policy and Science Diplomacy, is a member of the Science Diplomacy Network of Latin America and the Caribbean as Scientific Advisor.
Support Linda by visiting her fundraising page here.
Astronomer & Head of Media Relations, European Southern Observatory
Bulgarian, living in Munich, Germany
Dr. Mariya Lyubenova is a researcher who thrives at the intersection of fields, disciplines, and sectors in society. She passionately believes that open communication in a nurturing atmosphere is of paramount importance for the successful transfer and advancement of knowledge. She holds a MSc in Physics from Sofia University in Bulgaria and a PhD in Astronomy from the University of Munich, Germany. She currently works at the foremost intergovernmental organisation in astronomy, the European Southern Observatory (ESO), where she is head of Media Relations, science advisor to the Department of Communication, and editor of ESO’s science & technology journal. She is also an active researcher with main focus on the processes that shape the evolution of galaxies in the Universe, supervisor of master and PhD students, and mentor of junior researchers.
Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science & Deputy Dean, Murdoch University
Italian and Australian, living in Singapore and Perth, Australia
Italian-born Dr Paola Magni is a globally-recognised forensic scientist specialising in the analysis of micro and macro-organisms to solve the most complex crimes.
With a background in natural sciences, taphonomy, ecology, and evolutionary biology, this inspiring lecturer and researcher splits her time between Western Australia and Singapore, focusing on creating innovative research and cross-cultural learning experiences.
While the microscope is Paola’s first love, she now embraces cutting-edge technologies such as remote sensing and virtual reality.
As an immigrant, ground-breaking researcher and expert witness in the court of law for several cases of feminicide, she knows the challenges women face in forging a career in something unconventional such as STEM.
Passionate about science communication and amplifying discussions on the game-changing contributions women in STEM can make, Paola is challenging a new generation of female scientists to be bold, be innovative and forge new frontiers on their own terms.
Natalie Millán Aguiñaga
Associate professor, Facultad de Ciencias Marinas, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California.
Mexican, living in Ensenada, Baja California, México
Natalie got her BS in Oceanography and her MS in Molecular Ecology and Biotechnology from the University of Baja California (UABC). She earned her PhD in Marine Biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA. She was a visiting research fellow at the University of Strathclyde where she worked on the isolation of actinobacteria from sediment cores from Antarctic and Arctic collections. Since 2016, she is an associate professor at UABC working on bacterial genomics and marine natural products. She loves to isolate bacteria and to motivate her students to enjoy science and to take care of our planet.
Justine Virginia Murray
Research scientist, CSIRO
Australian, living in Brisbane, Australia
Justine has a love for nature and indigenous cultures and believes we must live in harmony with our environment. This led to completion of a BSc in ecology and a BA in anthropology at the University of Queensland. She continued her interests with a GradCert in community development and a PhD in conservation. She currently works as a landscape ecologist in the biosecurity sector, assessing the risk of exotic plants, animals and disease spreading across natural and modified environments. She enjoys working closely with local communities, so they understand the science, and help them manage their own environment effectively and sustainably. She is also involved in mentoring high school students. Justine loves travelling, hiking, horse riding and dog sledding.
Síle Nic Chormaic
Professor, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST)
Irish, living in Okinawa, Japan
Síle is an atomic and laser physicist and heads the Light-Matter Interactions for Quantum Technologies Unit at OIST for the last 9 years. Having studied and worked in Ireland, the UK, France, Austria, Australia, Germany, and Japan, she’s passionate about travel and using her international experience and viewpoint to improve the status of women in academia. Aside from her research in basic physics, she exploits her knowledge to develop optics-based tools for a range of topics that branch across to other disciplines, such as neuro-imaging and environmental monitoring. In her spare time, when not travelling overseas, she enjoys exploring the many islands of the Ryukyu Archipelago by foot or bicycle; 2020 was a particularly fruitful year for this pastime.
Pediatrician, Advocate Aurora Health
Indian-American, living in Illinois, USA
Nilam is a General Pediatrician with a special interest in childhood obesity, mental health in pediatrics, and women in leadership. Dr. Patel strives to ensure the adults of tomorrow have a clear understanding of how nutrition affects their physical and mental well being, sustainable development, and nurturing love for the environment. Nilam loves all things culinary, the outdoors, reading, and running.
Senior Project Manager, Graham
Canadian living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Raegan completed her civil engineering degree at the University of Saskatchewan, she has worked in the construction industry for her entire career on a wide array of project types including infrastructure, industrial and institutional. She is registered as a Professional Engineer in Saskatchewan, holds a Project Management Professional designation, and is a Gold Seal Certified Project Manager with the Canadian Construction Association. Raegan enjoys traveling, she has worked in the UK and done an Engineers Without Borders posting in rural Kenya. She is a passionate volunteer for causes with a focus on women, including being on the Board of Directors for the YWCA Saskatoon. She lives in Saskatoon with her husband and two children.
Expert and policy advisor on resilience to climate change, valuation of natural capital and sustainable finance, PhD candidate and researcher
Latvian, living in Sydney, Australia and Riga, Latvia
Climate change resilience, natural capital and sustainable finance expert Linda Romanovska has worked extensively as a policy consultant and advisor supporting international bodies, national and sub-national governments and decision-makers. Linda currently serves as an appointed expert member of the high-level European Union Platform for Sustainable Finance supporting the work on the EU taxonomy for sustainable investments, and her consulting and expert work revolves around urban climate change resilience planning and implementation, natural capital accounting and valuation as well as the mobilisation of sustainable finance for climate and environmental action. For the last ten years Linda’s roles have involved science-policy communication, evidence base for policy-making, support for policy development, implementation and evaluation including the management of funding programs for climate and environmental objectives, as well as capacity building and stakeholder engagement. Linda’s current PhD research focuses on advancing whole-of-life assessments and tripple-bottom-line valuation of urban green infrastructure.
Engineer, Associate Industry Specialist, Global Energy. International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group
Costa Rican living in Washington D.C, USA
Alessandra is an engineer specialised in renewable energy, she holds a position as an Associate Industry Specialist at the Global Energy team of the International Finance Corporation. Across years, Alessandra has carried extensive research and analysis in a number of technologies including solar, offshore wind, hydropower, energy storage, mini-grids, hydrogen, biofuels and ocean energy. She is a contributing author of more than 12 energy related studies. Prior to IFC, Alessandra worked at the International Renewable Energy Agency, McKinsey & Company and Intel Corporation. She has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and a Master of Science degree focused on mechanical engineering for sustainable energy from the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. Alessandra enjoys spending time doing triathlon, hiking or volunteering.
Felicitas Maria Schmidt
Clinican Scientist, Asklepios Lung Clinic Munich-Gauting
German living in Munich, Germany
As medical doctor, Felicitas cares for patients with e.g. COVID-19 in a lung clinic south of Munich. During her studies, she gained practical experience in the USA, Tanzania and Australia and became passionate about infectious diseases. As scientist, her strong interest in social and environmental determinants of health lead her to investigate the development of allergies in children at the Dr. von Hauner Children´s hospital in Munich. As active member of the German Network of Young Professionals in Public Health, she works towards a German Public Health Strategy. In her free time, Felicitas loves to hike, travel and meet friends.
Associate Professor & Deputy Director of Molecular Horizons, University of Wollongong
Australian living in Wollongong, Australia
Danielle is a research leader & educator in chemistry at University of Wollongong & Deputy Director at the Molecular Horizons institute. Danielle’s research is inspired by the extraordinary natural chemistry around us from coastal seaweeds to deep-sea sponges. Danielle also studies the complex sugars that decorate the surface of our cells leading to new pathways in cancer treatment & detection. Danielle is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute with a PhD from the Australian National University & her science has taken her to the UK, Germany, Italy, France & Spain. Danielle is a passionate STEM advocate who works closely with industry, community and government and strives to create a more welcoming, respectful and inclusive STEM environment for all. In her free time, Danielle loves to travel around Australia & the globe with her family & two boys.
Lecturer and Early Career Researcher (Earth Science), The University of Western Australia
Australian living in Perth, Australia
Naomi is an Earth scientist, a geologist, an Antarctic explorer and a STEM educator. As an early career researcher at the University of Western Australia, Naomi works in deep-time. She specialises in the hidden subglacial geology of Antarctica, and decoding Earth’s turbulent tectonic past from 3 billion year old rocks in Australia. Naomi strives to be a leader in delivering high-quality tertiary education. She is ambitious and enthusiastic about inspiring the young (and young-at-heart) to understand the importance of Earth Science to their everyday lives, to enact positive change for a sustainable future for all. In her spare time, Naomi loves travelling, bird watching, bush walking, and playing the euphonium.
Independent consultant, PhD candidate and Co-Founder of Women in Geospatial+
German living in Rome, Italy
Julia Wagemann is a geospatial analyst, PhD candidate and community-builder who promotes the use of open Earth data to better tackle climate, environmental and societal challenges. Her work is in the intersection between data providers and users of Earth data, resulting in a strong ability to translate user needs into a compelling vision for user support, training services and business development. As an independent consultant, she has worked together with a range of leading companies and intergovernmental organisations to develop training on Earth data, programming and emerging technologies.
Julia is in the final stages of her PhD in Geography and Computer Sciences at University of Marburg, Germany. In her research, she aims for a better understanding of user requirements and training needs for cloud-based systems of Earth data.
By co-founding the professional network Women in Geospatial+ in March 2019, she follows her calling to improve diversity and gender-equality in the geospatial field. She co-developed a speakers database giving more visibility to women speakers and organises a webinar series on career development.
Her motto: Growth and comfort do not co-exist!
Krushil Patricia Mairingi Watene
Associate Professor, Philosophy, Massey University
New Zealander living in Auckland, NZ
Krushil Watene (Ngāti Manu, Te Hikutu, Ngāti Whātua o Orākei, Tonga) is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Massey University in New Zealand. She specialises in moral and political philosophies of well-being, development, and justice with a particular focus on indigenous philosophies, and intergenerational justice. Krushil was appointed to the 2020 United Nations Human Development Report Advisory Board, and was awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship in 2018. She completed her Bachelors and Masters degrees at the University of Auckland, before completing her PhD at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, in 2011. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Auckland, and visiting fellowships at the University of Vienna in Austria, and Durham University in the UK. Her research has been supported by the Marsden Fund, Ngā Pae ō te Māramatanga, MBIE, and the Land and Water National Science Challenge.
Catherine Sarah Young
Artist, Scientia PhD scholar, Obama Leader for Asia-Pacific, University of New South Wales
Filipino living in Sydney, Australia
Catherine Sarah Young is an award-winning artist, designer, and writer. She uses her background in molecular biology, fine art, and interaction design to create interdisciplinary and experimental artworks on the environment. She has an international award, exhibition, publication, and fellowship profile and has collaborated with researchers, industry, and non-profit organisations most recently in China, Southeast Asia, Austria, and the Amazon rainforest. She is a Scientia PhD scholar at UNSW Sydney working on climate change and sustainability and an Obama Leader for Asia-Pacific. She writes science fiction and holds a second-degree black belt in taekwondo.
Numeracy officer, Mathematics educator, Sydney, Australia.
New Zealander, living in Australia
Shona is a Chinese-Kiwi calling Sydney home. She is a strong advocate for mathematics and science engagement and mentoring girls in getting a strong well-rounded education. Shona hopes to be a role model and help them find what makes them thrive, become passionate badass women in pursuing their goals or future careers.
Of Chinese heritage, born in New Zealand, grown up in NZ/Sydney, having lived in UK/Europe for 6 years, Shona loves learning about different cultures & their cuisines! Friends have to put up with her disproportional excitement about anything food related and cooking, improv comedy, bushwalking; also, she is a better random dancer in her mind than in real life.
After her Ph.D. in mathematics, Shona’s love for mathematics, science, learning and teaching grew through working as a researcher and lecturer and volunteering with school kids. Recently pivoting into working more with schools, she is qualified as a primary-secondary-tertiary educator and enjoys any opportunity to drive cultural & STEM connections or break gender/professional stereotypes in her teaching.
Awareness of women’s mental health, globally-minded citizenship and shifting commonly heard societal experiences of mathematics learning – breaking through associated barriers are close to Shona’s heart. Her personal and professional aspiration is to be a cross-cultural and generational bridge aiding systemic shift in STEM education. Shona believes with better bridges between STEM professionals, industry, educators, the public and policy makers, well-founded decisions on education and nature can be made to achieve long-lasting change for the planet!