Inspiring Women in STEMM fellowship program

Announcing the 2022 Inspiring Fellows!

The 2022 fellows of Science in the Pub’s Inspiring Women in STEMM grant are Kumudu Amarawardhana (Engineering), Sowdamini Sesha Prasad (IMAS), Shasta Henry (GPSS) and Dilani Ratnajeewa (AMC). The Grant provides funds for the selected applicants to mentor and inspire youth in their community, and remove barriers to the STEMM success of the next generation. Over the coming months, the 2022 fellows will be implementing STEMM engagement programs with these funds in Sri Lanka, India, and Tasmania.

See our Fellows present at our Special International Women’s Day event on Tuesday, 8 March from 6-8pm

What is the Inspiring Women in STEMM grant?

A higher degree in STEMM can be a springboard towards a rewarding career and an opportunity to give back to one’s community. Unfortunately, women are often under-represented in STEMM careers and women from remote, low-income areas, indigenous or minority communities often face additional barriers to achieving employment in STEMM fields.

Fortunately, many women overcome these substantial barriers and complete tertiary degrees in STEMM fields. These women are potential role models for the next generation of scientists in their community. However, they often do not have the training and opportunity to effectively tell their STEMM Story.

This grant seeks to lift the profile of some of the incredible young female scientists in Tasmania and amplify their voice so they can inspire the current and next generation of women in STEMM. The inaugural 2019 grant was supported by funds from Emily and Andy Flies’s Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Community Engagement; from 2020 this program relies on support from the community. There are so many incredible women willing to work hard in their studies and for their communities. Help us help them connect with and inspire the next generation of scientists. If you are able to contribute, please do so through our GoFundMe page.

Past recipients

The inaugural ‘Inspiring Women in STEMM’ Grant in 2019 supported four winners to reach hundreds of girls in their communities.  The grand winner, Mercy Ndalila, brought smoke detectors to a girl’s boarding school in Kenya, and fire safety materials to a primary school, to both safeguard students from fire and educate them about fire risks. Another 2019 winner, Gabriella Maria Paniagua Cabarrus, used the funds to buy supplies and new lab coats for a girl’s chemistry club in remote Guatemala. Then, through a virtual presentation, she guided them through a chemistry lab experiment, building their skills and curiosity about a career in science.

The 2020 grant

The 2020 grant was supported by generous donations from the community, and from the UTAS College of Science and Engineering and the UTAS School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences. Due to COVID travel restrictions, some 2020 fellows engaged with youth remotely.

The 2020 Inspiring Fellows

Hear their stories below from our special International Women’s Day Science in the Pub event:

Annie Nguyen is a PhD student in the School of Natural Science at UTAS. Annie witnessed first-hand how a lack of English-speaking ability can be a barrier to higher-paying jobs. She has since taught English as well as the Python computer language to youth in different parts of the world. Annie had plans to teach at the Natumuse Junior Academy in the Loitokitok district in Kenya before accepting her PhD scholarship studying the drivers of biodiversity in Australia.

Nneka Orji is a medical doctor, a health economist at the Federal Ministry of Health and Ministry of Women Affairs in Nigeria, a PhD student at the Menzies Institute of Medical Research in Tasmania (long-distance due to current travel restrictions) AND a mother of 4.

Olly Dove is a PhD student at the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies. Olly is also a co-host and editor for the Hobart-based radio and podcast show ‘That’s What I Call Science!’. The equipment purchased through this grant will also further extend the media outreach and impact of the show.

Applications for the 2023 fellowship round

This grant provides funds (up to $2000) for the selected applicant(s) to support STEMM engagement and education for youth in their home community.  

The applications will be due in November 2022 and will involve writing a short essay that addresses three questions (in <500 words):

  1. Why are you doing a PhD in your chosen STEMM field? (i.e. ‘show us your passion’)
  1. What barriers have you faced in undertaking your PhD in STEMM and how have you overcome them? (i.e. ‘show us your perseverance’)
  1. How would you use these funds to inspire the next generation of women in STEMM? (including a budget that will not be included in the 500 words) (i.e. ‘show us your plan’)

Applicants must currently be undertaking a PhD by Research in a STEMM field at the University of Tasmania and identify as female. The top three applicants will be invited to present at Science in the Pub’s special event for International Women’s day in March 2023 and will be provided with training in communicating with impact and opportunities for engagement throughout 2023.

For any questions, please contact Emily Flies ( or submit applications to

We are still fundraising for the 2023 SciPub Inspiring Women in STEMM program! If you would like to contribute to amplifying the voices of women in STEMM and help them to continue to inspire their communities please donate to our Go Fund Me now: Donate to the 2023 SciPub Inspiring Women in STEMM.