"At Oxford University there were 10 men for every woman student … I could see that getting gender balance makes a big difference."Show pathway
Favourite school subjects
Higher education choices
- A degree in Zoology at Oxford University
- A PhD in Neuroscience at Edinburgh University
Early Career opportunities
- Received a research grant from the Science Research Council UK
- Obtained a research fellowship from the University of WA which brought me to Australia
Career path in STEM includes
- A National Health and Medical Research Council Fellowship 1978-1994
- Professor at the University of Western Australia 1994-2013
- Chief Scientist of Western Australia 2006-2013
- Professor at Murdoch University 2014-2018
An excursion to Charles Darwin’s house was what first sparked my interest in science and biology. I went on to study Zoology at Oxford University and then completed a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh. The work I did for my PhD led to me heading up an internationally renowned research team focusing on recovery from brain damage.
In 1976, I began a series of research fellowships at the University of Western Australia, which I held until I became a professor there in 1994. In 2006, I became the first female Chief Scientist of any state in Australia, advising the Western Australian Government on science, innovation and technology.
At Oxford University there were 10 men for every woman student – I could see that getting gender balance makes a big difference.
There have been many highlights in my long career, but a couple that stand out include securing an agreement for Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory WA to host the low-frequency part of the radio telescope of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and setting up Dolphin Watch – one of the world’s best citizen science programs!
Throughout my career I have championed gender diversity and science in the classroom through programs such as Microscopes in Schools. I have always felt passionately about encouraging children to learn and love science, and to see what amazing opportunities a future in science can bring!