Women in Science & Engineering (WISE)

Our Women in Science & Engineering program supports current female students, as well as inspiring future generations of women to choose engineering and science careers.

We run hands-on workshops in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines for secondary-school students.

Initiatives & objectives

WISE organises activities to welcome and support female students. We regularly run seminars and workshops featuring female engineers, scientists and IT professionals.

We also seek to increase the profile of female engineers and other academics, undergraduate, and postgraduate students in the science and technology fields by showcasing success stories online and on College notice boards.


WISE activities include:

  • regular meetings with current female and male students to encourage engineering students to be mentors for their peers and role models for female secondary-school students
  • participation in events such as Women in Engineering (WIE) in Engineers Australia, IEEE WIE, Victoria, to encourage greater participation of women in engineering and science
  • forums with female scientists and engineers in industry for networking and leadership development
  • collaborations with industry and professional organisations to encourage female students to engage in professional, career-building activities:

Upcoming events

  • Women in STEM scholarship and mentorship information session with City West Water, October 2019

2019 WISE events highlights

2018 WISE events highlights

2017 WISE events highlights

  • Staff and students attended the Engineers Australia International Women’s Day event in March.
  • 'Breaking Down Boundaries and Stereotypes' seminar. Presented by Julia Gibney, who has an Aviation Engineering background, with 23 years in the defence industry working in engineering processes, maintenance, administration, auditing, technical risk management and personnel training.
  • The WISE Club @VU was nominated to represent Victoria University at the Women of the World (WOW) Festival in March at the Footscray Community Arts Centre. The club also conducted STEM activities at the Inaugural African Diaspora Women Summit.
  • WISE Coordinator, Dr Juan Shi, and Mr Lovelesh Ramsahye, Industry and Community Engagement Coordinator, met with companies including Carrier Australia Pty Ltd, the Lion group, and the Flight Centre Travel Group's Campus Travel to discuss internship opportunities and graduate programs for students at VU.
  • Dr Juan Shi worked on a STEM Travel Grant Victorian Review Panel, the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallugy - Women in Mining Network, Women in Aviation Aerospace Australia (AAA), Vicphysics Teachers' Network Inc., Vic ICT for Women, and Optimum Recruitment to promote careers for women in STEM.
  • Many female graduate students found work or secured internships through our industry links.
  • One of our PhD students, Ruwangi Fernando, from the Centre of Applied Informatics, set up and received funding for 'VU STEM Sisters', a group for VU’s female graduate research students.

2016 WISE events highlights

  • College staff and students attended the Engineers Australia International Women’s Day event in March.
  • Three WISE seminars in May and August welcome and support female students. The keynotes speakers were Vivian Chi from IT industry; Ghofran Al-nasiri, PhD research scientist at VU; and Regina Moran from Beca, former VU Building Engineering student.
  • WISE outreach activities in August to inspire women to choose engineering and science careers through hands-on workshops. The College hosted visits from Keysborough Secondary College and Haileybury College.
  • WISE identified and pursued professional collaborations, celebrating the IEEE Region 10 50-year anniversary in November.
  • WISE-organised STEM seminar at VU in December. Keynotes speakers Professor Petra Lucht and Dr Baerbel Mauss from Center for Interdisciplinary Women's and Gender Studies (ZIFG) at Technische Universität Berlin presented their innovative study program.

2015 WISE events highlights

  • Engineering-student meetings to discuss peer-mentoring and acting as role models for female secondary-school students.
  • Participated in Engineers Australia’s Engineering Week to encourage greater participation of women in engineering and science.
  • Forum with female scientist Dr Shu-Yen Lee from Davies Collison Cave featured an inspirational talk, 'From Scientists to Patent Attorney - How training in science can lead to alternative careers'.
  • Presentations at VU Women's Collective Women in Science and Engineering Careers Forum by WISE coordinator, Dr Juan Shi; Truc Nguyen, the current Chair of the Engineers Australia Women in Engineering (WiE) Victorian Branch; and Process Engineer at Hexion Pty Ltd.
  • Participated in the National Science Week Energised Fashion Runway and laboratory activities organised by IEEE Women In Engineering Committee.

Success stories

Emma Buis, Engineering graduate

Read how Engineering graduate Emma found herself back at VU as lead site engineer on the University’s new student accommodation.

Sarah Oleksiuk, Project Management graduate

Sarah Oleksiuk's determination to become a successful project manager has won her awards and admiration.

Ghofran Al-nasiri, PhD research scientist

Ghofran Al-nasiri, a refugee from Iraq, was given a chance to achieve her dreams of becoming a science researcher through VU’s pathways program.

Mary Cowling, Master of Science graduate

Mary took her interest in the environment to New Zealand to study fur seals for the research project in her masters degree. Her goal is to become a marine scientist.

Pooja Haria, Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechanical Engineering) student

Pooja encourages young women to pursue STEM careers. She travelled to Australia from her homeland of Kenya to study mechanical engineering and is the only female in her class.

Fatima Osman, Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronic Engineering)

Fatima Osman was encouraged by her parents to make the most of the education opportunities presented to her. With an interest in science, she chose electrical engineering, finding work through VU's placement programs.

Jasmine Proud, PhD in Engineering

Jasmine Proud chose to pursue a career designing wearable robotics as a way of making a genuine, positive impact on the lives of people with disabilities.

Contact us