Supporting women in STEM

| Posted Jul 08,2021

Two Soil CRC researchers, Dr Yanju Liu and Dr Penny Cooke, have successfully completed the veski inspiring women STEM sidebyside program.

Veski is a program of fellowships, awards, and international networks that contributes to building Australia’s intellectual capital and innovation capacity. The veski inspiring women STEM sidebyside program was designed to empower women at different career stages with the skills, networks and mindset to develop and achieve their career goals.

Dr Yanju Liu, from the University of Newcastle, is the Project Leader of the Soil CRC Project Improving Pesticide Delivery. She said it was a wonderful opportunity to be able to take part in the program.

“It helped me to connect with different people, and to think about being strategic in networking to help establish my career,” she said.

The program had several online and in-person sessions

  • Career strategy
  • Authentic leader
  • Values and character
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Contribute as a board member
  • Social media
  • Courage as leaders
  • Difficult conversations

“The program gave me new knowledge and understanding and also helped me to make new connections. I feel more courageous, inspired and responsible for my own career. One of the key things I learned was to do a leadership journey diary, it is a very valuable way to reflect,”

Yanju said.

Dr Penny Cooke, from the University of Tasmania, is a researcher with the Soil CRC project Why soil management practices are adopted.

She found the leadership sessions the most helpful.

“Learning about leading with courage, not being passive but leading positively, and how to have difficult conversations were great sessions. Being part of the group gave me a new language and new ways of thinking that helps with difficult conversations,”

Penny said.

She believes that it is important in agriculture and in rural areas to show diversity. “As a social science researcher, I know that farmers like to see diversity.”

Dr Michael Crawford, CEO of the Soil CRC, said, “Encouraging our researchers to take part in the program is another way that the Soil CRC is investing in capability for the future and supporting female leadership in the sciences.”