Supporting women in engineering and technology with the Natasha Linard Scholarship – Meet Emily Rose Rees

18 May 2018

The Natasha Linard Scholarship for Women in Engineering & Technology supports female ANU undergraduate students to build leadership skills in technology, business and community areas, and to develop a mentoring relationship with prominent professionals in the private and public sectors. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr Natasha Linard, who was an outstanding and inspiring role model for female engineers. She was one of the first ANU female students to graduate with a Bachelor of Engineering and, subsequently, with a PhD in Engineering.

Recipients of the scholarship receive $5,000, and are supported to undertake the YWCA Canberra She Leads Diploma of Leadership and Management. We caught up with on ANU Bachelor of Engineering (Research & Development) student, Emily Rose Rees, who is one of the first recipients of the Natasha Linard Scholarship, to find out more about her experience so far.

Who are you? Tell us about yourself!
I am a final year Engineering student at the Australian National University, majoring in mechanical and material systems. I grew up in Perth and moved to Canberra for university as a way of challenging myself and getting out of my comfort zone.

My time at university has strengthened my passions for using engineering to solve big problems (I’m currently working on a project to better track space debris to keep the space environment safe and accessible), and for gender equity, particularly for women in STEM.

I have championed a more equitable and inclusive culture through my involvement with Fifty50, mentoring of younger female students, and encouraging young girls to pursue a STEM career.

What drew you to apply for the Australian National University Natasha Linard Scholarship for Women in Engineering & Technology?
The scholarship was established in memory of Dr Natasha Linard, who was one of the first ANU female students to graduate with a Bachelor of Engineering, and aims to continue her dedication to mentoring female students and early professionals. Natasha’s legacy resonated with my passion for gender equity and supporting other women, which initially motivated me to apply.

The scholarship also provided the opportunity for further leadership development through the She Leads Diploma, which I hope will help me better support and mentor other women.

You have just started the She Leads Diploma, how are you feeling about it?
I’m feeling really excited! It’s wonderful being in a room full of talented and interesting women, who are all happy to share their stories and experiences to help everyone else learn.

What are you most excited to learn?
I’m keen to learn more about different leadership and communication styles and strategies, and how other participants have employed them successfully.

When you think about your leadership journey, where are you currently and what do you want for the future?
I consider myself to still be very much at the start of my leadership journey, with plenty to learn, try, and improve. Taking what I’ve learned from the Diploma so far, I’d like to be in a leadership position where I am supported and empowered to be bold and push for what I believe in. Investing in myself through undertaking this Diploma is the first step of this next part of my journey.

Who are you inspired by?
I have been inspired by the work of activists and authors such as Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Jamila Rizvi, Cordelia Fine, and Iris Bohnet to name a few, who have all helped me understand some of the different aspects of gender equity.

It’s also really inspiring for me to see women in science and engineering who are working on the challenging projects and problems of today. People like Celine D’Orgeville, who has worked on projects such as the Gemini Telescope in both Hawaii and Chile and is an advocate for gender equality in STEM, help me see technical engineering positions as viable career options for myself.

Hearing talks from women such as Jennifer Wiseman, the Senior Project Scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope at NASA, reinforces this and has really highlighted the importance of having visibility of women in STEM careers.

What does being a leader mean to you?
To me, being a leader is about doing the right thing and standing up for what you believe in, and working to bring out the best in everyone around you.

You can find out more about the She Leads Diploma of Leadership and Management here.

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