Online Panel: Nominate and Apply – You need to be in it to win it!

Featuring: Prof Maria Kavallaris AM, Prof Madhu Bhaskaran FTSE, Sarah Chapman FRACI, Natalie Chapman RTTP GAICD, Dr Jiawen Li

The diversity of applicants across many awards and fellowship applications is woefully low.

Many women shy away from putting themselves forward even if they are actively encouraged to apply. Writing the application can be challenging as it requires you to ‘promote’ yourself and ‘sell’ your achievements and ask referees to back you with letters.

These award applications are important as they can propel your career forward, provide you with external validation and influence and create visible and diverse role models for the next generation. Learn how to be strategic and put forward competitive applications.

Our “award-winning” panel have immense experience, which they are keen to share with you as award applicants and assessors.

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Sarah Chapman FRACI
Co-Chair, Women in STEMM Australia

Sarah Chapman is the Head of the Department of Science at Townsville State High School and is in her twentieth year of teaching. She is passionate about inspiring, engaging and empowering people through STEM.

Sarah commits extensive portions of her own time lifting the profile of STEM education, by working with students, teachers and the broader community. In a voluntary capacity, she is the Founder of the Townsville STEM Hub and Co-Chair of Women in STEMM Australia.

In 2019, Sarah was awarded a Commonwealth Bank of Australia Teaching Award Fellowship. In 2018, Sarah was selected as one of ten national STEM Ambassadors by Science and Technology Australia, and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. She was awarded a Barbara Cail STEM Fellowship in 2016, which involved international travel to research best practice in engaging young people in STEM. Sarah was awarded the prestigious Prime Minister’s Secondary Science Teaching Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in 2013. In 2014 she was selected as a Queensland Government Science Champion. Sarah’s work has also been recognised with a prestigious Peter Doherty, Outstanding Teacher of Science Award in 2008 (Queensland Government) and an Australian Award for Teaching Excellence in 2009 (Teaching Australia).

Sarah is an inspirational keynote speaker and workshop presenter at local, state, national and international STEM events. She is also regularly consulted by a range of institutions for advice around vision and direction of STEM engagement and education.

Dr Jiawen Li
Senior Lecturer, School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Adelaide

Jiawen was the first and only female tenured faculty member of the School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Adelaide. Despite being an optical engineer, Dr Jiawen Li has also won prestigious Fellowships from Australian National Health, Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and National Heart Foundation.

She has secured >$3 million in competitive research funding as the lead chief investigator and won numerous prestigious awards/honours (including national Superstar of STEM, Australian Optical Society Geoff Opat Prize, and the Young Tall Poppy Science Award). She uses her expertise in optical engineering to build hair-sized endoscopes to explore the nooks and crannies of the body’s organs, leading to early and accurate diagnoses of various diseases.


  • Young Tall Poppy Science Award
  • Superstar of STEM
  • L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science
  • NHMRC Investigator grant Fellowship
  • Heart Foundation Fellowship
  • University/Faculty awards
  • Optical society prizes
Prof Maria Kavallaris AM
Founding Director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine at UNSW

Professor Maria Kavallaris is Founding Director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine at the University of New South Wales, and is an NHMRC Investigator and Theme Head at the Children’s Cancer Institute. Maria’s research excellence has been recognised many times and she is recognised for her innovation in driving interdisciplinary research in cancer nanomedicine.


  • Receipt of competitive national and international fellowships
  • Two Australian Museum Eureka Prizes,
  • 2017 Premiers Science and Engineering Prize for Leadership in Innovation in NSW
  • 2019 Lemberg Medal
  • 2020 NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year
  • Presidential Medal for Outstanding Contributions from the President of the Republic of Cyprus in 2022.
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW.
  • Appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in 2019 for her significant service to medicine, and to medical research, in the field of childhood and adult cancers.
Prof Madhu Bhaskaran FTSE
Co-chair, Women in STEMM Australia

Professor Madhu Bhaskaran FTSE is a multi-award-winning electronics engineer and innovator. She co-leads the Functional Materials and Microsystems Research Group at RMIT University which she established in 2010.

She is also Chief Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems and Deputy Director (Research) of the ARC Hub for Connected Sensors for Health.

Her work on electronic skin and wearable sensors has been patented and her group now works collaboratively with multiple industry and design partners to commercialise the technology for healthcare and aged care.

She is a migrant Australian and a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion. She co-founded the RMIT Women Researchers’ Network, has served on RMIT Athena Swan Committee, and was a Member of Expert Working Group of the ‘Women in STEM Decadal Plan’.

She is currently the IDEA Director for the ARC Centre of Excellence TMOS, on the Advisory Board for STEM Sisters and proudly co-leads Women in STEMM Australia.


  • 2022: Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
  • 2021: Knowledge Commercialisation Award for Best Industry Collaboration
  • 2020: 40 under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australian Award
  • 2020: Frederick White Medal awarded by the Australian Academy of Science
  • 2018: APEC Aspire Prize Winner
  • 2018: Batterham Medal awarded by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
  • 2017: Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher
  • 2017: Most Innovative Engineers 2017 by Engineers Australia
  • 2016: MIT Technology Review Top 10 Technology Innovators Under 35 in Asia
  • 2015: Victoria Fellowship
  • 2014: Phillip Law Post-Doctoral Award for Physical Sciences, Royal Society of Victoria
Natalie Chapman BSc MBA RTTP GAICD
Managing Director, gemaker

Natalie is the Founder and Managing Director of gemaker, an award-winning commercialisation agency that works with research organisations and innovative businesses to bring their inventions out of the lab and into use. Natalie has 20 years’ experience (including 10 years at ANSTO) commercialising new technologies and growing technical-based Australian businesses in critical minerals, clean energy and low carbon emissions technologies, medicine/medical devices, manufacturing and aerospace. She is the Corporate Communications Manager for an ASX-listed mining company and on the Board of Women in STEMM Australia and AusEarthEd.


  • 2011 Mann Redmayne Medal – IOM3
  • 2013 Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Asia, Australia or New Zealand – Stevie Awards
  • 2017 Innovative Business and Services Awards – Stevie Awards
  • 2017 Telstra Business Award – NSW – Microbusiness
  • 2017 Telstra Business Women’s Award – NSW Finalist
  • 2018 UoW Alumni Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • 2022 Superstar of STEM


Dr Emma Lovell
Senior Lecturer, School of Chemical Engineering at UNSW

Dr Emma Lovell is a Senior Lecturer and ARC DECRA Fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering and researcher in sustainable energy solutions in the Particles and Catalysis Research Lab at UNSW. Emma completed her PhD in 2016 at UNSW developing materials for carbon dioxide conversion. Her research focuses on developing catalytic materials for a range of different energy inputs. This includes developing catalysts for Power-to-X conversions using heat, light, plasma and electricity. She is an Editor of Chemical Engineering Journal.