Celebrating women in engineering

To mark International Women in Engineering Day (23 June), South Australian engineering success stories will be featured in a new series of the South Australian Museum’s popular ‘Her Story: Inspiring Women in STEM‘ displays.

Flinders University Professor Giselle Rampersad features as one of the high-flying SA women profiled in the new series.

Museum Director Brian Oldman says the Her Story display has been a source of inspiration and inclusivity since it first opened in the museum’s main foyer in 2019.

It has profiled a wide range of subjects – from former astronaut and recently announced NASA Deputy Administrator Colonel Pamela Melroy to Australia’s first Indigenous Rhodes Scholar Rebecca Richards, and Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist Professor Tanya Monro.

Four extraordinary women in STEM who are part of the new, free ongoing series of displays that celebrate remarkable SA women in STEM careers, providing “visible and relatable role models for the next generation of young scientists who pass through the museum’s doors”.

“We’ve been proud to see Her Story bring a formidable series of women to the very front of the museum, where each and every visitor will see their faces and hear their stories.

“It has been a terrific way to recognise the impact these women are making in their respective fields, while also making sure that the budding scientists of tomorrow can see themselves in STEM careers, and are inspired to follow in their footsteps.”

Her Story’s newest installment begins with Dr Giselle Rampersad, Professor in Innovation in the College of Science and Engineering at Flinders University, and the Program Director for the award-winning Diploma of Digital Technologies.

“The traditional view of innovation and creativity is that people are born with it, but I strongly believed that innovation and creativity could be taught,” Professor Rampersad says.

For Professor Rampersad, the secret to innovation is recognising how each of us brings our own unique skills and perspectives which are essential to creating a broad and diverse knowledge-base that’s ready to meet any unexpected challenge.

“I love the work that I do. Science has so many possibilities and it is a super exciting time in Australia currently,” she says.

“There’s so much opportunity for science and my area is innovation, a common thread that goes across all areas. We know the future is uncertain, but if you approach everything with an innovative mindset you can be resilient and strong  and ready for whatever change comes.”

Joining Dr Rampersad will be three more inspiring women, whose stories will be on display over the course of the next year: Julia Mitchell, the Director of the Space Industry Association of Australia and Senior Spacecraft Systems Engineer for Sitael Australia (on view from September 2021); Professor Katrina Falkner, Executive Dean Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Adelaide (from December 2021), and Dr Liz Reed,  Research Scientist in Palaeontology with the South Australian Museum (from March 2022).

The South Australian Museum houses everything from fossils of the first known life on Earth to pieces of Martian meteorites. Its collections are still growing and used each day in scientific and cultural research. One of Australia’s most successful research museums, the SA Museum has been running for more than 150 years, supporting hundreds of research publications over the years.

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College of Science and Engineering

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