Women In STEM

August 2 2024

9:30 - 11:30 am

Our Women in STEM presentation has been expanded to include a focus on diversity in STEM for 2024, featuring presentations from leading female scientists, engineers and professionals from a range of STEM careers.

This program will be open to all high school students and will run in conjunction with STEM Day Out. Register your schools interest for STEM Day Out here

This was our 2023 line up:
Your Host
  • Professor Caroline McMillen, Chief Scientist for South Australia
Special Guest
  • Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, Governor of South Australia
  • Luisa Panuccio, Senior Project Manager, Arup
  • Flavia Tata Nardini, CEO and Co-founder at Fleet Space Technologies
  • Karen Trezise, Chief Technologist, Babcock Australasia
  • Cathi Buttfield, Project Manager, Electric Vehicle Integration, Future Industries, Dept for Energy & Mining SA
  • Lily Taylor, Optics Specialist, Defence Science and Technology Group, Australian Department for Defence
  • Emma Cole, Innovation Manager, SA Power Networks
  • Jessica Sharp, Hardware Engineer, Lockheed Martin

Professor Caroline McMillen

Chief Scientist for South Australia

Professor Caroline McMillen commenced in the role as Chief Scientist for South Australia in October 2018 after serving as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle for 7 years from 2011.

She is committed to building collaborations between research, government and industry to deliver economic, environmental and social impact. In her role as Vice-Chancellor, she has been a frequent national commentator on the critical role of STEM in driving innovation and national and regional economic and social transition. She was honoured at the end of her term to be presented with the Key to the City of Newcastle by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle.

Professor McMillen is an active champion for science, science education and for the next generation of scientists and she is a strong advocate for increased participation of women in science. She was a member of the Expert Advisory Group for Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) formed under the auspices of the Australian Academy of Science.

Her Excellency the Hon Frances Adamson AC

Governor of South Australia

Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC is a proud sixth-generation South Australian.

She studied economics at the University of Adelaide, while there becoming the first female captain of the rowing club in its 103 year history, and went on to join the Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs in 1985. She worked in Hong Kong during the early years of China’s reform and opening, eventually becoming Australia’s Ambassador to China from 2011-2015.

In 2016, Her Excellency was appointed head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, pursuing Australia’s interests as world powers shifted and the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. She also led the department through a period of cultural change, encouraging more women into senior ranks.

She has also been International Adviser to the Prime Minister and Chief of Staff to the Foreign Minister and Defence Minister.

In June 2021 Her Excellency was made a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to public administration through the advancement of Australia's diplomatic, trade and cultural interests, particularly with the People's Republic of China and the Indo-Pacific region, to innovative foreign policy development and high level program delivery, and as the 36th Governor appointed in South Australia.

Karen Trezise

Chief Technologist, Babcock Australasia

Karen Trezise is the Chief Technologist for Babcock Australasia, an Engineering and Technology company providing highly skilled and technologically advanced solutions for clients in the Aviation, Land and Marine sectors.‌

Karen is particularly passionate about Aviation and completed a double degree in Aerospace Engineering and Avionics. She also holds a private pilot's license and flies in her spare time, enjoying the world from above.‌

With over 15 years’ experience, Karen has proactively gained work in helicopter flight test, fast jet health and usage monitoring and prognostics, commercial airline maintenance, repair and overhaul, support system design for anti-decoy missiles, and on the F35 Joint Strike Fighter program. With a keen interest for continual learning, advanced technologies and being a home hobbyist in AI, machine learning and mixed reality, she pivoted roles to now motivate innovative solutions supporting smarter solutions and predicted technology concepts for future needs.‌

This year, Karen was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Aeronautical Society, gaining recognition for her contributions in advancing the sciences and technologies in the aerospace profession.

Flavia Tata Nardini

CEO and Co-founder at Fleet Space Technologies

Flavia Tata Nardini is co-founder and CEO of one of Australia’s most exciting space startups Fleet Space Technologies. A real-life rocket scientist, former propulsion test engineer at the European Space Agency and holder of two patents, Flavia has worked across a broad range of innovative space projects. Along with her team they are working towards launching a constellation of small satellites to enable high value, real time, application in industries such as Mining, Exploration and Defence.

Recently added to Flavia’s achievements: Mission Chair of the 7Sisters Moon Mission, Chair of the Australian Space Agency Space Industry Leaders Forum, Ambassador of AmCham SA Council of Governors, Adjunct Professor of UniSA and also recently graduated from the AICD Corporate Program. A strong advocate for women in STEM she regularly speaks at events and empowers the next generation of leaders.

Luisa Panuccio

Senior Project Manager, Arup

A qualified Civil and Architectural Engineer, Luisa currently works as a Senior Project Manager in Arup’s Highways Team in Melbourne, Victoria.

Commencing her career in construction in 2017, Luisa has worked on a large variety of major infrastructure projects across Australia. Luisa is a passionate advocate for diversity in STEM, with a specific focus on engineering and the construction industry. Since 2015, Luisa has worked towards this goal as an ambassador for a variety of organisations including Engineers Australia, Children’s University Australia, Engineers Without Borders Australia, Google, and the University of Adelaide.

In 2019, Luisa received the National Association of Women in Construction Graduate of the Year Award for her role in managing a complex program of works involving the construction of 20 civil projects for the South Australian Department for Infrastructure and Transport.

Luisa was the recipient of the James McWha Rising Star Award in the University of Adelaide's Distinguished Alumni Awards. The James McWha Rising Star Award honours the highest accomplishments and achievements of young alumni who are making a significant contribution as emerging leaders within their profession and community.

Cathi Buttfield

Project Manager, Electric Vehicle Integration, Future Industries, Dept for Energy & Mining SA

With over 20 years of public service across State and Federal Government (including military) and as the owner of a 68 year old, third generation manufacturing business, Cathi is passionate and committed to the growth and success of South Australian industry and encouraging students into STEM occupations through a diverse range of pathways.‌

In addition to previous roles in government Corporate Services, Property and Finance teams, as the Mineral Tenements Team Leader for 7 years in the Mineral Resources Division of the Department for Energy and Mining, Cathi developed extensive knowledge of South Australia's mining legislation, tenure and regulation processes for exploration and mining projects.‌

In early 2021, Cathi joined the Department's Growth and Low Carbon Division, which is responsible for delivering the state's 10 key actions to prepare South Australia for electric vehicle (EV) uptake. As the Project Manager, EV Integration, Cathi manages the Statewide EV Charging Network and EV Smart Charging Trials grant projects. In addition, Cathi works with the Future Industries Team to champion other initiatives, including the EV Fleet Pledge and Tow Ready Holiday Parks, to encourage EV uptake, smart charging and decarbonising the transport sector in South Australia.

Lily Taylor

Optics Specialist, Defence Science and Technology Group, Australian Department for Defence

Lily Taylor is an Optics Specialist working for the Information Sciences Division in the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) within the Australian Department of Defence.

She holds an Honours Bachelor of Science in Laser Physics and a Bachelor of Science (Advanced) in experimental and theoretical physics from the University of Adelaide. She started working for DSTG in 2018 where she conducts research into laser satellite communications.

Lily has a particular interest in STEM outreach and is a passionate STEM advocate. She has participated in and led many outreach activities for Defence and is a strong advocate for young women and people from regional and remote communities in STEM.

Jessica Sharp

Hardware Engineer, Lockheed Martin

Jessica Sharp is a Hardware Engineer working for Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) and holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronic Engineering) from the University of Wollongong (UOW).

She has experience developing, prototyping, and testing hardware and software products for various Defence projects. One project highlight was her involvement creating a custom drone measurement system. As a qualified drone pilot she was also responsible for flying the drone!

Jessica has a passion for supporting early career engineers and women in STEM. This lead her to become Chair of the LMA Graduate Council and a member of the LMA Early Careers Council. She also organises and hosts a biannual graduate networking event for all LMA Graduates across Australia. Prior to her current roles, she started with LMA as an engineering intern before completing the LMA Graduate Development Program.

Jessica is the winner of the 2022 Australian Defence Magazine (ADM) Women in Defence Awards (WIDA) Engineering Category – awarded to the defence community’s most outstanding female individual working within the engineering field. She was also the recipient of the 2022 Lockheed Martin Australia/New Zealand Excellence Awards Rising Star Award.

Emma Cole

Innovation Manager, SA Power Networks

Meet Emma, the wonder woman of innovation! She's on a mission to make the world a simpler, more collaborative, and creative place for all. As the Innovation Manager at SA Power Networks, Emma's days are filled with integrating cutting-edge technologies, growing organisational capabilities, and nurturing new talent.

But Emma doesn't stop there - she's also a superhero for STEM education! In the last two years, she launched a robotics competition for schools that not only tackles critical challenges faced by SA Power Networks but also brings communities together and expands STEM education opportunities in both regional and metro areas. Is there anything this woman can't do?

And when she's not saving the world with her innovation superpowers, Emma is a non-executive director with the Australian Medic Alert Foundation. She uses her expertise and experience to drive positive change and impact in the community.

Emma is a true visionary and change-maker, committed to making a positive difference in the world through her work. She's the ultimate inspiration for anyone looking to make a meaningful impact on the world.