STEM Career Day Guest Profiles Thu, June 15, 2017

The St Mark's Old Scholars' Association, will be hosting the first ever STEM Career Day on Saturday 29 July, with a focus on careers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

The event will provide a chance for Year 9 and 10 students (particularly girls) to ‘speed meet’ with a number of STEM professionals from within the Old Scholars’ Association network, as well as the St Mark's parent community. According to the Australian Government’s National Innovation & Science Agenda, only one in four IT graduates and fewer than one in 10 engineering graduates are women. Further, women occupy fewer than one in five senior researcher positions in Australian universities and research institutes, and around one quarter of the STEM workforce overall. 

Over the next few weeks, we will be profiling some of our guest speakers for the event.

Gemma Cadby - Research Fellow at the Centre for Genetic Origins of Health and Disease at UWA

Gemma Cadby graduated from St Mark’s in 1998. She was in Moyes, and her favourite subjects were English Literature and Maths. 

“I really enjoyed English Literature classes – my teacher was Mrs Rowlands and she was amazing and treated us as adults. She encouraged us to think outside the box and have our own opinions and I really appreciated that,” said Gemma.

After graduating, she took a year off and worked to save some money, and then spent some time in the USA. She started her degree at the UWA in 2000. 
“I wanted to become a forensic psychologist and had planned to study a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology at UWA. I actually started this degree, but dropped out mid-year when I decided that Arts wasn’t for me, so I decided to pursue a more science-based degree.”

"I sort of fell into my career. I had done well in Maths, so changed over to a Bachelor of Science majoring in Maths/Statistics. I was then asked to do Honours and one project focused on genetics and I thought that sounded interesting. I really enjoyed the mix of statistics and health. Once I finished Honours, I wasn’t sure about following the PhD path and moved to London and worked as an auditor for Deloitte. I decided that wasn’t for me though and returned to Perth to do my PhD in the genetics of melanoma. And I’ve been working in the genetic epidemiology field ever since. I guess you could say I took a bit of a complicated path to get where I am, but I think sometimes it can just take a bit longer to work out what you want to do."

Gemma completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Mathematical Sciences and a PhD in genetic epidemiology. She now works as a Research Fellow at the Centre for Genetic Origins of Health and Disease at the University of Western Australia (UWA).

"My current research is focused on identifying genes associated with cardiovascular disease, mesothelioma, and scarring. I am also leading a project investigating the long-term health outcomes of sleep apnoea (the obstruction of the throat during sleep). In my spare time I enjoy yoga, running, and travelling." 

Gemma says she believes the reason why girls should consider a career in her field is the same as it is for boys: it is a challenging and rewarding career.

"As an academic, we have quite a lot of freedom in what we do. I might decide that I want to investigate a problem and I’m generally able to do that. A lot of what I do is running analyses, working with huge amounts of data and presenting my research at conferences and in academic journals. I’m also given the opportunity to teach at University if I want to. Most universities are really flexible and are generally good at work-life balance." 

Anita McKenzie - Mechanical Engineer

Anita graduated from St Mark’s in 1998, and was a member of Carnley House. Her favourite subject at School was English Literature.  She chose to enter engineering studies after a conversation with the Dean of Engineering at UWA.  He explained to Anita that science was about researching something and exploring its properties while engineering was finding useful applications and putting it into practice. Her initial plan was to study in the biological sciences field, but thought engineering sounded far more interesting.  

After graduating from St Mark's, Anita enroled in the University of Western Australia to study Materials Engineering. She completed the degree with honours and went on to take a gap year travelling Europe.After returning to Perth broke, she worked for a small company selling pumps before moving in a mechanical design engineering role in the mining industry. There was a brief stint in the oil and gas industry before returning to mining. Working for design engineering firms has led to work based in Indonesia, the Philippines, and through parts of Africa and Australia.

Anita’s first love is travel and exploration. She is super inquisitive and travels the world as much as possible interacting and experiencing the culture and the people, seeing how things are done differently, or the same, in other places and cultures. To date she has traveled through over 40 countries and many more to go. How is this funded? Engineering.

Anita noted Engineering should considered in the same way that any other career or profession is chosen. It if interests you, if you are an inquisitive, analytical type person who enjoys problem solving and figuring things out, then engineering may just be for you. 

"It opens up so many opportunities and pathways that you might not even imagine. Engineering isn’t limited to building bridges. it involves so much more. Engineering aids and helps all facets of life, so find out about it, and consider it with the other options available,” she explained. “An amazing documentary is The Humanitarian Engineer by Sheena Ong, and it gives some great insight into Engineering opportunities.”

Kate Bullen-Hiho - Veterinarian

Meet Old Scholar and current School parent, Kate Bullen-Hiho. Kate, a member of Watkins House, graduated from St Mark’s in 1998. Her favourite subjects were Maths (calculus) and History. While at St Mark’s she participated in choir, public speaking and debating.  Dr Williams was her Maths teacher.

Kate says Year 11 and 12 were definitely her favourite years at school, even with doing six TEE (ATAR) subjects. Kate said she thinks the teachers would remember her for being loud, opinionated, and a bit of a pain. Her best memory from her school days is of Ski Trip - hers was the first year group to take on Mt Hotham!

After leaving St Mark’s she headed straight to Murdoch University to study Veterinary Science.

“I was always very interested in medicine,  but the thought of doing it on humans totally freaked me out! I have always absolutely adored animals and thought of my pets as part of the family, so becoming a veterinarian was the obvious decision for me,” said Kate.

A highlight of her career was working as an Emergency Vet in London. She now works at Melville Animal Hospital.

Want to meet Kate? Make sure you attend the STEM Careers Day on 29 July!

Register for the event today:

Date: Saturday 29 July 2017

Time: 10am to 12pm

Tickets: The is a free event, but RSVPs are essential for catering purposes. Book your spot today.