Fulbright New Zealand hosted an inspiring Women in STEM panel on May 2nd at Victoria University of Wellington. Podcast audio from the event is available to listen or download, below.
The four panelists are innovators and leaders in their diverse areas of STEM: Helen Ferner (Technical Director in Structural Engineering at Beca New Zealand), Laura Sessions (Science and Technology Manager, Hutt City Council), Hazelle Tomlin (Climate Change, Adaptation, Reporting and Evidence Team at Ministry of Primary Industries) and Sue McLean (Digital Technology Services Manager, Transpower).
The panel generously shared the challenges, successes and surprises in their career to date, finding their passion in STEM and highlights from working in their specific areas. They also provided excellent tips and encouragement for anyone considering their next move in STEM.
There was a common theme of being passionate about helping the community and finding solutions to the wicked problems facing our world today. Several on the panel spoke about shoulder tapping women and others is important for bringing diverse viewpoints to their work.
The group agreed that creative thinking, being curious and a lifelong learner is vital in STEM. They encouraged the audience to follow their interests and intuition, think creatively and always ask questions.
The Fulbright alumnae on our panel – Laura, Hazelle and Helen – shared highlights of their life-changing Fulbright experiences and how it empowered them early in their careers and provided exceptional opportunities to connect with STEM leaders and specialists.
Thank you to our event chair Kirsten McLay, Deloitte New Zealand, for the wonderful karakia and mihi to open the event – and for asking great open questions to lead such an inspirational discussion. Thanks also to our friends at TechWomen NZ and Graduate Women NZ for helping us create this fantastic event.
“It was an awesome experience. I would recommend graduate studies in the United States to anybody. It was just fantastic.” Helen Ferner
“Think about what you want to enable in the world – think about the change that you want to make rather than the job you want to do.” Laura Sessions
“If you find something you enjoy just reach for the stars. Think about how you can get there.” Hazelle Tomlin
“Go for it. And follow your passions. Mine is earthquake engineering and making a difference to people affected by earthquakes. But I would suggest the question is, what’s yours? It won’t necessarily be easy and sometimes you may be a minority. It’s not very easy. But it’s not an impediment.” Helen Ferner
Here’s the full podcast audio of the Women in STEM panel discussion.
Click here to open in a new window or download
The main panel discussion runs for the first 48 minutes, followed by several questions from the audience. Unfortunately, some of the audience questions are low volume, but it’s worth persevering through as the answers from the panel are really interesting and inspiring!
Times for each question and sections:
We hope you enjoy the audio. Feel free to share it with your networks.