Our Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) program supports current female students and inspires future generations of women to choose engineering and science careers.

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

Initiatives & objectives

WISE organises regular activities such as seminars and workshops featuring female engineers, scientists and IT professionals from industry. We aim to attract and retain women in STEM field through continuous supports.

We also seek to increase the profile of female STEM graduates, academics, undergraduate, and postgraduate students 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:

  • Attendance at the Engineers Australia International Women’s Day event, 10 March 2021, Australia.
  • WISE International Women’s Day Event – “Engineering for Sustainability”, presented by 2020 Young Professional Engineer of the Year, Amy Lezala Zahr. Amy explored her journey through engineering and management as well as UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals , 9 March 2021.
  • WISE Rising Stars –WISE members graduated from VU share their journey and experiences in STEM education and career to inspire and encourage current and future WISE members, 30 September 2021.

  • Attendance at the Engineers Australia International Women’s Day event, 7 March 2019, Australia.
  • WISE International Women’s Day Social Event - “Pursuing Your Passion” presented by the entrepreneur and philanthropist, Megan Jaworski, 7 March 2019.
  • STEM Networking Event - the event focused on exploring industry mentorship and internship opportunities for females studying in STEM related areas. Industry guests and mentors from City West Water (CWW), Ford Motors and Greenwood Solutions presented at the event. 9 October 2019.

  • Joint event “Live stream of Women in Data Science (WiDS) conference” - hosted by WISE and VU’s own SAP Next-Gen Lab on 6 March 2018 at VU's City Flinders Campus.
  • Attendance at the Engineers Australia International Women’s Day #PressforProgress event, 7 March 2018, Melbourne.
  • WISE International Women’s Day Event - What I wish I learnt at university to help me start my career, 9 March 2018, VU's Footscray Park Campus.
  • Girls in Physics Breakfast, 20 April 2018, VU Sunshine Convention Centre
  • Science & Engineering Challenge activities for Year 10 students, 7 June 2018, VU Footscray Park Campus
  • Spark Engineering Camp, 3-6 July 2018

  • 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 Metallurgy - 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

Success stories

Contact us

Contact WISE academics at VU. Please note, contact WISE coordinator and working committee members for any enquiries.

Associate Professor Juan Shi (WISE Coordinator)
Phone: +61 3 9919 4034
Email: [email protected]

Dr Melissa Chan (WISE working committee member)
Phone: +61399194484
Email: [email protected]

Dr Rui Li (WISE working committee member)
Phone: +61399195812
Email: [email protected]

Dr Christine Connelly
Phone: 61399195836
Email: [email protected]

Dr Elmira Jamei
Phone: +61 3 9919 5847
Email: [email protected]

Dr Shobha Muthukumaran
Phone: +61 3 9919 4859
Email: [email protected]

Associate Professor Hao Shi
Phone: +61 3 9919 4060
Email: [email protected]

Associate Professor Zora Vrcelj
Phone: +61 3 9919 4685
Email: [email protected]