GHD Pty Ltd
Graduate Environmental Scientist

Are you eligible for Breaking Barriers Category

SUMMARY

I have a passion for sharing my culture and educating others on the importance of looking after Country and the environment. A core part of this passion is pursuing opportunities to merge cultural knowledge with science in my everyday work. To this end, I work for GHD Pty Ltd as a Graduate Environmental Scientist. I am also an artist and proud Kamilaroi woman. Since beginning my role with GHD in early 2021, I have worked on a number of exciting projects including hazardous building surveys in Weipa, surface water and air quality sampling in Greenvale, invasive flora surveys in Tully, and community engagement on Palm Island. GHD is a technical services firm that originated in Australia and has since reached a global scale. One of GHD’s key marketing sectors is the Environment and I am proud to be part of an organization that emphasizes the need for sustainable projects.


BENEFIT – A description of the benefit of your work to Queensland (max 500 words)

There are both scientific and educational aspects of my work that have and continue to benefit Queensland, with a focus on looking after Country and the environment. I achieve this through my professional career, as I am part of the process that ensures projects are undertaken sustainably. This gives me a lot of hope for the future. My role at GHD is to research the existing environment in a space set for development, and inform the client and also the community, of the environmental values that are present in the area. This has included protected species, essential habitat, cultural heritage finds and how best to continue development while safeguarding our natural history. Additionally, through stakeholder engagement I am able to work with the community to tailor our projects in a way that maintains holistic and meaningful outcomes. Within GHD, I have undertaken many opportunities to educate those around me, both seasoned professionals and new graduates like myself, on cultural sensitivity and the importance of traditional knowledge in the western science and engineering space. Some initiatives I am most proud of were being the guest speaker at the GHD Queensland and Northern Territory NAIDOC week event and assisting in the inclusion of Traditional Owner Name phonetics in each North Queensland office to ensure everyone has the opportunity and ability to Acknowledge Country. Furthermore, in my artistic and educational career, I have recently published my first book which is an illustrated children’s novel that I have written in Gamilaraay language that informs the reader about invasive animals throughout Australia. This book started as a final assessment during my university studies. I wrote “Ngarrangarra-li Guru-Mayuu: Looking After Country” to preserve my language and inspire the next generation of kids that have an interest in our environment and want to conserve it. I am in the process of sending copies of my book into schools and communities to spark interest and educate on an important aspect of the health of the environment and, to start conversations regarding Australia’s rich Indigenous history.


ROLE MODEL – Why do you think you are a good role model for women and girls aspiring to work in STEM? (max 500 words)

I’ve never been a quiet achiever; I take up space and make room for the less confident voices. I’ve always stood up for what I believe in, and the expectations of society have never stopped me from being who I am. I am the oldest cousin on both sides of my family and the first to attend and graduate university. I am the first scientist in my family. My Nan, a proud Indigenous woman, was only able to attend school up to Grade 3, having grown up with her influence I learnt the value of education and to meet every opportunity with determination and gratitude. I am only 22 years old and as such, have always been in the “younger” category as a professional. However, I never shy away from the chance to educate the generations that have come before me. Inclusion and resect lead to both a diversity in our workspace and an entirely new set of solutions to the world’s current problems. Similarly, maintaining a young voice for chance gives me an incredible advantage to teach and mentor the next generation. It was not long ago that I was in the same shoes as many of the women deciding whether or not to undertake a career in science. I am well versed in the anxieties that come from trying to balance it all, I have a career, a busy family life, a successful personal business and still make time for socializing and wellbeing. Women have always been the drivers of evolutionary change throughout the life history of our species, and I have no doubt that it will be the women of our time who lead us into the greatest version of our future.


ENGAGEMENT – Describe any STEM promotion or engagement activities that you have undertaken, including both scientific and non-scientific audiences, particularly with women and girls (maximum 500 words)

I am a CareerTrackers Alumni and have attended several meet-and-greets with new Interns and their families to help inspire the next generation of Indigenous professionals. I have been the point of call for more than a dozen new CareerTrackers Interns situated in North Queensland, specifically those undertaking roles in the science or engineering space. Additionally, I was a guest speaker at the CSIRO Young Indigenous Women in STEM virtual experience panel. Speaking on behalf of GHD, I gave a presentation on my role as an Environmental Scientist and how I proudly merge traditional understanding with the science that I work in every day. This presentation was delivered to more than thirty young Indigenous women looking to pursue a career in STEM. My involvement helped to solidify the potential for future partnerships between GHD and the CSIRO Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy. Recently, I have been involved in a promotional “Women in STEM – This is Uni” article which will be released as a means to promote the work I do as a James Cook University graduate working at GHD. This article will feature on the James Cook University Webpage alongside many other inspirational graduates and will depict the exciting last two years of my career as an environmental scientist. Additionally, as mentioned, I have recently published my first book to inspire an interest in our environment and preservation of my Indigenous language. This will reach a large non-scientific audience, especially primary school and early high school aged children across Queensland and New South Wales.


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