Meet the 2023 IMNIS Catalyst Alumni Industry Ambassadors!

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03 May 2023

A speech pathologist working to rehabilitate those impacted by brain injury, an aerospace engineer working on chemical transportation, and a science publisher working on STEM resources for school students are among the diverse group of 20 emerging leaders in STEM announced to join the 2023 IMNIS Catalyst program this week.

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering’s (ATSE) IMNIS Catalyst program supports inspiring emerging leaders in STEM to become ambassadors for their professions by providing unique professional development and networking opportunities. Catalysts represent ATSE and its prestigious Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) Initiative as they engage with schools, industry, and academia. IMNIS Catalyst is supported by MTPConnect as part of the Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry (REDI) initiative.

Program uniquely designed to gain experience in communication

The 2023 cohort brings skills and experience drawn from a wide variety of STEM fields and from across the nation.

The IMNIS Catalyst program is uniquely designed to support emerging STEM leaders to gain experience in communication – one of the top three executive skills in demand today – and enable opportunities to apply these skills in a variety of STEM fields. The 20 IMNIS Catalysts will receive training to:

  • build their public profile
  • hone their STEM and media communication skills
  • develop their leadership voice, and,
  • communicate with influence.

Catalysts include Nanditha Sirigiri, who is researching the intersection of combined computational-experimental science and machine learning/AI problem solving in material design at Bondi Labs. Ms Sirigiri is strongly motivated to work in business with a focus on improving and expanding renewable and green technologies.

Impact on the next generation and community engagement

Also included is Dr Amol Ghodke, who is researching insect and agricultural biotechnology at CSIRO. Dr Ghodke has made an impact on the next generation as a mentor in the Gene Technology Access Centre’s (GTAC) program, which provides biology and STEM education to students in Years 5-12.

Catalyst Adaeze Ekwe is a research scientist completing her PhD in developing gene-modified cell therapy for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) – a condition where donor bone marrow or stem cells attack tissues in the transplant recipient. Ms Ekwe is passionate about active community engagement and regularly communicating science through her involvement as a science ambassador at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

And Qiang Gao is a research fellow in the School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Adelaide. Mr Gao’s research aims to tackle real-world engineering challenges in the development and deployment of ocean-based renewable energy, such as offshore wind and ocean wave energy.

ATSE CEO Kylie Walker said it is exciting to welcome an exceptional cohort to the growing program as it enters its third year.

IMNIS Catalyst – providing the empowering tools needed

“Enabling passionate advocates of STEM to grow their skills and visibility increases diverse opportunities and representation for aspiring researchers and industry professionals," said Ms Walker.

“Programs like IMNIS Catalyst provide the empowering tools needed to communicate research and passions effectively with a range of audiences, and to engage the community in conversations about the future of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

“It is exciting to see our biggest cohort of IMNIS Catalysts yet. Strong and diverse ambassadors for the power and potential of STEM-powered careers enable young people throughout Australia to envisage themselves and aspire to building a career through science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Ms Walker said.

Click here to find out more about the twenty young science and tech innovators selected for IMNIS Catalyst.