Griffith’s Women in STEM step up for 2019 Prize

Clockwise from top left: Dr Jenny Allen, Dr Fernanda Adame, Eloise Stephenson and Dr Fan Zhang.

Wetland conservation, Ross River virus, Antarctic ecosystems and cognitive performance in thermal environments – these diverse topics and the role of women in STEM are what a group of Griffith researchers hope to shine a light on.  

Voting for the 2019 Queensland Women in STEM Prize is open, and four researchers from Griffith are hoping their individual projects attract the eyes and votes of the state and beyond. 

PhD candidate Eloise Stephenson, Dr Fernanda Adame and Dr Jenny Allen from Griffith’s School of Environment and Science, and Dr Fan Zhang from the School of Engineering and Built Environment have submitted entries into this years competition.

Eloise Stephenson’s research is focused on better understanding the epidemiology of Ross River virus by investigating the ecology of wild animal reservoirs and their role in the amplification of the disease. Her project entry unites experts from veterinary medicine, public health and entomology to sample more than 700 animals, and count over 70,000 mosquitoes to look more closely at the transmission of Ross River virus.

The research of Dr Fan Zhang focuses on architectural science and indoor environmental engineering fields, with a primary focus on thermal comfort, cognitive performance and productivity in learning and office environments, post occupancy evaluation and workspace strategy & design. Her project investigates how various indoor environmental conditions affect occupants’ physical health, mental performance and social well-being.

Dr Fernanda Adame focuses on the role of wetlands for sequestering carbon and for improving water quality. This information can be used to participate in carbon and nitrogen markets where we can “sell” the benefits of wetlands (nitrogen removed, carbon emissions avoided) and get funds that can be reinvested into wetland conservation. Dr Adame’s primary aim is to deliver science that that is useful to improve the protection and management of wetlands.

The research of Dr Jenny Allen focuses on Antarctic ecosystems and their susceptibility to climate change. Her project investigates the possible use of humpback whale song in monitoring Antarctic ecosystem health. 

This state-wide competition is open to early to mid-career women working in STEM careers whose practice benefits Queenslanders. 

Three cash prizes of $5,000 are available: 

  • Jury Award awarded to the most meritorious applicant, as determined by a panel of esteemed judges 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Jury Award awarded to to the most meritorious Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicant, as determined by a panel of esteemed judges 
  • People’s Choice Award awarded to the applicant with the highest number of public votes. 

Previous winners are feeding the world through sustainable livestock productionestablishing new manufacturing industries and advancing medical science through drug discovery and improved understanding of immune responses. 

The 2019 Queensland Women in STEM Prize is presented by Queensland MuseumQueensland Government and BHP Foundation. 

Finalists will be announced on March 18 with the overall winner announced on March 24. 

Visit the 2019 Queensland Women in STEM Prize website to cast your vote.