girls in stem


Download a flier and a program for the 2017 Girls in STEM day.

girls in stem workingPresenting partners

Texas Instruments

An event for girls in Year 9 and 10 the chance to be inspired by women who have forged impressive careers in STEM. These women are paving the way for your students to flourish in a STEM career.

This event explored females in STEM careers with a particular emphasis on the importance of mathematics required for success. Students heard from five leading industry experts in a range of fields about their experiences working in a STEM focused career.

Presenters shared their stories; the journey they took, the contributions they have made, the impact of being a female, tips for success, and how to overcome obstacles along the way. There was a particular emphasis on the importance of mathematics in VCE subject selection, university degrees and in STEM careers.

An interactive panel discussion followed and students were also engaged with hands-on learning sponsored by Texas Instruments.


Speakers and presenters

Opening Address

Maxine McKewMaxine McKew
Broadcaster and Author

Maxine McKew is an author and Honorary Fellow of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. Her most recent book, published by Melbourne University Press in 2014, is Class Act -  a study of the key challenges in Australian schooling. This publication followed the success of her memoir, Tales From the Political Trenches, an account of her brief but tumultuous time in the Federal Parliament.  

Maxine’s background traverses both journalism and politics. For many years she was a familiar face to ABC TV viewers and was anchor of prestigious programs such as the 7.30 Report and Lateline. Her work has been recognised by her peers with both Walkely and Logie awards. When she left journalism and made the switch to politics, she wrote herself into the Australian history books by defeating Prime Minister John Howard in the Sydney seat of Bennelong. In government she was both parliamentary secretary for early childhood and later, for regional development and local government.  

Maxine lives in Melbourne and is a director of Per Capita and the John Cain Foundation. In 2015 she was also appointed to serve on the board of the State Library of Victoria.


Master of ceremonies

the power of engineering

Felicity Furey

Felicity Furey
Director, Machinam

Engineer by profession, self-taught entrepreneur, working to change the world through engineering, mathematics, diversity and creativity. Felicity co-founded two social enterprises to impact diversity and engagement in engineering and mathematics – Power of Engineering and Machinam. Not-for-profit organisation Power of Engineering has inspired over 4,500 female and regional high school students across Australia about creative and diverse engineering careers. Machinam aims to engage students and teachers in real world mathematics by creating scenario based resources that are relevant to teenagers interest and future careers.

This work, along with her professional career as an engineer saw Felicity named as the Financial Review BOSS magazine’s Young Executive of 2016 and as one of Australia’s ‘100 Women of influence’ in 2012.

STEM career experts

the University of Melbourne

Jacinta Den Besten

Jacinta den Besten
Physicist, Melbourne University

Jacinta is the First Year Physics Coordinator at the University of Melbourne and has had over 20 years of experience in Physics and Maths education in secondary and tertiary settings. For the last 5 years she has been coordinating an astronomy outreach program, Telescopes in Schools, and researching the reasons behind the gender disparity in Physics education and career pathways.


Monika Janiak

Monika Janiak
Environmental Scientist, GHD

Monika is currently a senior environmental scientist with the contamination assessment and remediation group at GHD. After finishing high school she studied Arts/Science at The University of Melbourne, and has worked in Melbourne, UK, Europe and Japan, teaching English. Whilst living in Tokyo Monika became inspired to go back to university and study Environmental Science (with a double degree in business) at RMIT. After graduating Monika got a job at GHD. In her current role, Monika has experience in investigation, assessment, monitoring and remediation of contaminated sites. She has worked on a variety of contaminated land and groundwater industrial sites and has been involved in every level of these projects including: project management, the production of sampling and analytical plans, extensive field works, the production of technical reports, job management of investigation and remediation projects.

CHT Architects

Chivonne Hollis

Chivonne Hollis
Architect, CHT Architects

Chivonne has a passion for architecture and craft, detailed design and the way these are incorporated into built form to enhance functionality. This has provided her with motivation throughout the last 14 years of her practical experience with CHT. Chivonne’s expertise lies predominantly in contract administration, working on construction sites on a large variety of projects ranging from high end single residences, multi resident developments, retail, commercial and aged care projects. As a mother of two young children she finds that working part time in an effort to enhance my career in a male dominated field to be difficult, but is a challenge worth accepting.

level crossing removal authority

Megan Evers

Megan Evers
Civil Engineer, Level Crossing Removal Authority

Megan is a civil and construction engineer with 16 years experience working in the water industry. Megan has worked in many various roles and places in her career in construction. Some of these roles include project management of an odour treatment facility at a waste water treatment plant, project engineer for the construction of a new sewerage system on Christmas Island as well as a dams engineer overseeing design and construction of water supply dams. Megan’s current role is as a utilities specialist with the Level Crossing Removal Authority assisting with relocating the water and sewer assets that are affected by the level crossing removal projects around Melbourne.


Frances Palmer

Frances Palmer
Product Design Engineer, Nissan

Whilst studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Product Design) at Swinburne University (2002-2006), Frances was awarded the Women In Manufacturing Scholarship, which included employment at Autoliv Australia during university holidays and during her IBL (Industry Based Learning) year. Frances’ role was the industrial engineer for the Holden, Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Tata airbag manufacturing lines, ensuring the production lines ran to time and quality targets.

Following completion of her degree in 2006 Frances was employed as a graduate design engineer (focusing on packaging) at Mars Inc. in Wodonga, working on global and local product platforms, from pet food to chocolate. Moving back to Melbourne at the end of 2007, she commenced work at Silvan Australia as a design engineer, moving up into engineering team leader the following year. Being chosen to design, develop and engineer a $1 million new agricultural spraying range of machines was a career highlight.

Craving another taste of the automotive industry Frances was employed in 2010 as senior engineer at Nissan Australia, managing accessory engineering projects such as front and rear park assist, satellite navigation, rear seat entertainment, canopies, tonneau covers, and acrylic products. Frances is currently the manager of accessory product management at Nissan Australia, and manages the planning and styling of new accessory products into current and future Nissan vehicles

Hands-on activity by Texas Instruments

Karleigh Nicholls and Shelley Cross, St Hilda’s College

Shelley CrossShelley Cross
Mathematics teacher, technology enthusiast and conference presenter!

Passionate about using technology to unlock student understanding of maths!




Karleigh NichollsMrs. Karleigh Nicholls

Karleigh is the head of house and mathematics teacher at St Hilda’s College, QLD.

She is passionate about teaching students mathematics and using technology to aid this.

Karleigh believes that having a positive relationship with students can help them have a positive relationship with mathematics.












Welcome and introduction

Felicity Furey, Machinam

Opening address

Maxine McKew


Presentations from experts

Jacinta den Besten, University of Melbourne

Frances Palmer, Nissan

Megan Evers, LXR authority

Chivonne Hollis, CHT Architects

Monika Janiak, GHD


Morning tea

Teachers will be provided with a light refreshment, students will receive a cupcake.

Sponsored by GHD


Panel discussion and questions

All experts


Christine Oudin

TI Edtech Australia


Hands on activity:

Inspiring Generation STEM with TI InnovatorTM

Karleigh Nicholls and Shelley Cross

St Hilda’s College, QLD



Felicity Furey, Machinam




Download a flier and a program for the 2017 Girls in STEM day.

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