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The RACI Inclusion and Diversity Committee

Chair – Prof Amanda Ellis (Amanda.ellis@flinders.edu.au)

Amanda grew up in New Zealand and was the first in her family to go to university starting later in life, graduating with a PhD in 2003 at the age of 35 then undertook several post-docs in the US, returning to NZ in 2004. Her academic life commenced in 2006 when she started as a lecturer at Flinders University of South Australia. She is now a professor and currently serving as a Board member for the RACI. She has been involved for many years as a University mentor and more recently as a member of the Women in STEMM branching out committee (Faculty of Science and Engineering) and the Flinders Athena Swan SAGE Self-Assessment Team. She has lead, or been involved in a broad variety of events, around gender and diversity including a 2016 SA New initiative grant focused on Illuminating the faces of high profile Women in STEMM on buildings around Adelaide.


Dr Max Massi – Curtin University (M.Massi@curtin.edu.au)

Max graduated from the University of Bologna and after a three years postdoctoral period at Monash University he started his career at Curtin University in Perth, WA. At Curtin he recently joined the Athena Swan initiative and has been a member of the Ally program for several years; a program related to the gender and sexual diversity space. An issue Max has started to look into is the early perception and idea that grows in high school students and discourages women to think they’ll be successful as scientists.

Dr Katherine Locock – CSIRO (Katherine.Locock@csiro.au)

Katherine has held a position as chair of the CSIRO Manufacturing Indigenous Engagement Committee since 2014, with her being one of the main drivers in creating a new Indigenous Engagement Strategy for the Business Unit. This has translated into increased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in the Business Unit workforce (from zero in 2014 to 10 in 2016), new initiatives to increase cultural awareness within the workplace and a $250k Federal grant to work with a Northern Territory remote community to bring science and Indigenous culture together to develop a community led agribusiness. She has also taken on a role as a mentor for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, establishing ‘Scientist in Schools’ relationships with Worawa Aboriginal Girls College in Victoria as well as Ntaria Remote Community School in the NT.

Assoc. Prof Kristopher Thurecht – University of Queensland (k.thurecht@uq.edu.au)

Kris graduated from his PhD in 2005 from the University of Queensland and then took up a postdoc at the University of Nottingham in the UK. He was awarded an 1851 Research Fellowship in the UK in 2007, then from 2008 was an ARC APD Fellow followed by a Future Fellow from 2012. Currently he is a Group Leader in the Centre for Advanced Imaging and Associate Group Leader at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at UQ. His group works extensively with school children, with the main aim of promoting science to the broader public in general. Certainly in the primary school arena, the excitement and interest in science is equally high among both sexes so it is certainly important to determine how to maintain equity across all levels of science throughout the career development pipeline.

Dr Martin Boland – Charles Darwin University (martin.boland@cdu.edu.au)

Martin’s background is in the mining towns of North Western England, where I was the first person in his extended family to enter higher education, as a mature-age student following a trade apprenticeship. Following work as a research fellow and tutor at The University of Melbourne, He is now a senior lecturer at Charles Darwin University (CDU) in the Northern Territory. The student cohort at CDU is diverse in a number of dimensions. At CDU, classes with greater than 50% female and cultural or linguistic minority participation are common. The university also has a strong culture of inclusion of Indigenous and low educational achievement groups. Due to the diversity of the student body, courses at CDU include a strong focus on mentoring and supporting students at risk of dropping out. Within this framework, Martin is responsible for outreach to LEA and mature-age students, and has led an initiative for courses to hold “whole course pastoral tutorials” where students from earlier years of study have the opportunity to interact with those close to completing their degree.

Dr Belinda Abbott – LaTrobe University (b.abbott@latrobe.edu.au)

Dr Belinda Abbott is a Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Physics, La Trobe University with research interests in medicinal and organic chemistry. She has been a member of the Women in Chemistry Group of the RACI Victorian Branch since 2011, and is the Chair as of 2016. Belinda is also a member of La Trobe’s SAGE Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team.

Prof Frances Separovic – University of Melbourne (fs@unimelb.edu.au)

Frances is a Biophysical Chemist and former Head of School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne. Frances grew up in Broken Hill and, after the birth of her son, did a BA at Macquarie and a PhD at UNSW while working full-time at CSIRO, Sydney. Following a post-doctoral fellowship at National Institutes of Health (USA), Frances joined the University of Melbourne in 1996. As well as teaching Chemistry, Frances has served as Assistant Dean (EO) (2001-02) and Associate Dean (2009-10) of the Science Faculty. She was awarded the ASB Robertson Medal in 2009, ANZMAG Medal in 2011 and elected Fellow of the Biophysical Society (USA), ISMAR Fellow, and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2012.

Professor Michelle Coote - The Australian National University (michelle.coote@anu.edu.au)

Michelle is a graduate of the University of New South Wales, where she completed an undergraduate degree in industrial chemistry (1995), followed by a Ph.D. in polymer chemistry (2000). As an undergraduate she completed various stints of industrial training, often in heavily male dominated areas. Following her PhD she undertook postdoc in polymer physics at the University of Durham UK before returning to Australia in 2001 to become a theoretician, initially as an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor Leo Radom. She was awarded a Rita Cornforth Fellowship to start her own group in 2004, granted tenure in 2006 and became the first female Professor of Chemistry at ANU in 2010. She now bridges theoretical and experimental chemistry, and is currently interested in developing the emerging field of electrostatic catalysis. She has been a member of RACI for over 25 years, and is currently Chair of Polymer Division and Immediate Past Chair of the Physical Division. She has won a number of awards including becoming the first female recipient (in 100 years!) of the HG Smith medal in 2016. In 2014, she was elected to the Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science, and in late 2016 was appointed the first Australian Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. She is passionate about science, is a mentor to a number of ECRs and MCRs within Australia and abroad, and loves giving chemistry demonstrations at her children’s primary school.


Dr Madeleine Schultz – Germany (madeleine.schultz@qut.edu.au) Currently located in Germany.

Madeleine is originally from Perth, and studied at ANU before moving to the University of California at Berkeley for her PhD. After two post-doctoral positions she started as a lecturer at QUT in 2007 and her children were born in 2007 and 2009. In 2012 she relocated to Heidelberg, Germany. Madeleine has had increasing interest in the issues facing women in the science workforce over the past 5 years. She curates an email list for women in chemistry in Australia to share information about jobs, committee roles, fellowships etc which has 180 members and runs the twitter account @AusWomenChem. More recently she has been looking into the sociology of exclusion and learning about social identity threat.