NYSF 2017 Session C started off with a visit to the Australian Academy of Science at the Shine Dome. In this iconic building, the participants were intrigued by the words of the Chief Executive of the Australian Academy of Science, Dr Anna-Maria Arabia and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, at the University of South Australia, Professor Tanya Monro.
A common theme in both Dr Arabia and Professor Monro’s presentations were the importance of gender equity in STEM careers and the role that all of the participants have in ensuring equal opportunity for men and women.
Dr Arabia’s welcome emphasised the importance of thinking about science in a broad sense and not to limit your options by being fixated on one particular career path.
“Think about your passion for science and technology in the broadest way possible, and be open to the many career paths that may be open to you ... be driven by your curiosity of the world.”
Furthermore, she highlighted the importance of being a ‘thinker’ stressing that scientific enquiry has “little to do with what you think, but how you think”.
Following Dr Arabia’s welcome, the participants were addressed by Professor Tanya Monro. Throughout her presentation she focussed on her area of specialisation, photonics, as well as explaining the pathways she took in achieving her goals.
Professor Monro was a NYSF alumna, attending the National Science Summer School as it was, in January 1990. She credits the program as her “first chance to absorb science beyond the classroom”.
She told the NYSF 2017 cohort that while at school, she planned on studying astrophysics, however as she was exposed to new fields in science she found that her interest was elsewhere. Throughout her career she has completed a PhD at the University of Sydney, undertook a fellowship at the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of South Hampton and was the Director of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) from 2008 to 2014 and was also the inaugural Director for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), both at the University of Adelaide. Further information about her career can be found here.
Professor Monro concluded her talk with some advice for the participants to use throughout their studies, career and life underlining the importance of having “passion, persistence and patience”.
By Veronica O’Mara, NYSF 2017 Session C Communications Intern and NYSF 2014 Alumna