Congratulations to our 2015 WiT Awards Winners

Congratulations to our 2015 Award winners who are making their mark across the spectrum of science and technology. The annual WiT Awards recognise outstanding talent and achievement giving women the recognition they deserve, building support for their work, and inspiring the next generation of leaders by showing what is possible.

WiT Sue Wickenden Entrepreneurial Award sponsored by Queensland Government - Winners

Karen Sanders

Karen Sanders

Karen Sanders has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry, starting in her role as a construction engineer for Thiess, moving to Project Manager, and then co-founding her own technology company Real Serious Games.

Karen has engaged with construction on the ground level, having worked as a technical specialist and a project manager – working on iconic projects such as the Eastern Busway and the Airport Link Project. Now in her role as Commercial Director of Real Serious Games she is actively involved in working with large infrastructure and training providers.

Karen is recognised as an industry leader in spatial gamification and was recently published as part of the G20 Global Café. Karen is also a former Director of NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction).

WiT PhD Career Start sponsored by Origin Energy - Winners

Angie Jarrad

Angie Jarrad

Angie is a passionate researcher with over eight years’ experience in biological and chemical sciences. Angie’s research is focused on the development of antibiotics to fight gut pathogens.

She has skills in drug discovery, organic synthesis and microbiology as well as in project management, communication and writing. Angie is a Young Science Ambassador for the ATSE Wonder of Science program and an IMB Science Ambassador.

Her PhD research is focused on developing novel antibiotics to fight anaerobic bacteria.

Angie is also an Australian Postgraduate Award recipient.

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Highly Commended - Gillian Fisher

Gillian started studying science at the age of 40 and is now a nationally recognised researcher. In 2004 Gillian was awarded a Griffith University Equity Scholarship and enrolled in a Bachelor of Forensic Science degree, she received the Griffith Award for Academic Excellence in 2005, 2007 and 2008.

Gillian’s research has focused in the field of adult stem cell biology, cell and molecular therapies, parasitology. Gillian applied for and won a highly competitive NHMRC Post Graduate Scholarship followed by several top up scholarships from Griffith University and the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute (total funding $107,000).

In 2015 Gillian was selected as a finalist in the postgraduate student category of the prestigious ASMR Queensland Health and Medical Research Awards. Gillian is now focused on malaria research and drug discovery, antimalarials.

WiT ICT Research Award sponsored by University of Queensland - Winners

Leigh Ellen Potter

Highly Commended - Leigh Ellen Potter

Leigh-Ellen’s research has been conducted in user experience, emerging technology, and project management.

Leigh is the team lead for the Seek and Sign project, established to develop technologies to enhance the communication environments of very young Deaf and hard-of-hearing children and to explore design issues with that client group. The project is recognised internationally and Leigh is considered an expert in this area.

Leigh is also team lead for the Emerging Experiences Lab a new research project working with emerging technology.

WiT Life Sciences Outstanding Achievement Award sponsored by Queensland University of Technology - Winners

pam Russell photo

Professor Pamela Russell, AM, FAHMS

Pamela is a leading health and biomedical researcher. She was the first to treat autoimmune disease using cyclophosphamide therapy and is internationally recognized for generating bladder and prostate cancer models for study. She directed the Oncology Research Centre, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney for 17 years, and is now at the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Qld, as a member of the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, based at the Translational Research Institute.

She has published over 200 papers, international patents, has procured $34m in grants and mentored postgraduates and 31 postdoctoral fellows. Discoveries include antibodies to diagnose, image and treat prostate cancer, use of theranostic nanotechnology to improve imaging and treatment, and innovative gene therapy.

Regularly invited to collaborate, present worldwide, contribute book chapters, edit specialist journals, review and join global scientific committees, Pam also helped to found the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, and educates patients and their partners about prostate cancer.

Awards include Australian honours (AM) for research contributions. She was recently made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.

WiT Life Sciences Research Award sponsored by University of Queensland - Winners

Reasearch Week award winners

Kerrie Wilson

Kerrie’s research informs conservation spending at global, national, and local levels. Early in her research career Kerrie led an Australia-wide prioritisation project for the Federal Department of Environment, Heritage, Water and the Arts.

The underlying theory and data from this project has had broad implications for how the sector operates and has since been used by CSIRO, State and Federal Environment Departments, and NGOs.

Kerrie is the UQ node leader of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions and is regularly engaged in scientific and community service roles ensuring that her research directly translates into practical outcomes.

WiT Rising Star Award Sponsored by QUT ihbi - Winners

Melina Georg

Joint Winner - Dr Melina Georgousakis

Melina is a health and medical researcher in the field of vaccine development. Her PhD was in the design of novel vaccine candidates for the bacteria group a streptococcus, which overcome some of the barriers in delivering vaccines to developing country settings. Melina provides technical advice to the Commonwealth Department of Health on vaccine policies through support of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation. She was involved in policy for the expansion of the national HPV vaccine program to include adolescent boys. Melina is also the technical editor of Australia’s national guideline on immunisation, The Australian Immunisation Handbook. Melina was recognised for her science communication as a QLD finalist for Young Australian of the Year. Melina has also established a professional community for women in health and medical research field, called Franklin Women.

Michelle Liu

Joint Winner - Michelle Tianqing Liu

Michelle Tianqing Liu, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute Michelle is a young and ambitious researcher focused on developing cutting-edge nanomedicines which can target certain organs for drug delivery. Her work has been highly productive and recognised internationally (10 original research publications, including six first author articles in leading journals in the field). Michelle has received a seed funding grant ($25,000) which is designed to be awarded to early stage (pre-Team Head) researchers. Michelle is a steering committee member of Australia Chinese Association for Biomedical Science (ACABS)-Queensland Node and a committee member of Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR)-Queensland.

WiT ICT Outstanding Achievement Award sponsored by Datacom - Winners


Heidi Uytendaal

Heidi has worked as a SAP consultant, Integration lead and Quality Manager involved in the method, mechanics and process of delivering large, integrated and complex projects.

Heidi has helped define, document, train and govern key delivery methodology for projects in both BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. She has continuously improved Quality Assurance through consistent processes and the mentoring of a passionate delivery team.

Heidi is responsible for all global changes within the Business Solution being moved through systems into production, covering multiple timezones, 10 releases a year and over 400 quality assessments for system changes.

“BELIEVE IN YOURSELF…….Be proud of what you do, and don’t undersell your job or yourself” Heidi said.

WiT Professional Award sponsored by Hewlett Packard - Winners

Tafline Ramos

Dr Tafline Ramos

Tafline has played a vital role in the international standardisation for software and systems engineering. Her work has provided the software testing community around the world with an internationally agreed set of concepts, processes, documentation, and techniques for software testing. Tafline is also chair of the Software and Systems Engineering committee at Standards Australia.

Tafline highlights the travel, income and pure enjoyment that can be derived from working in the ICT industry. “In my career I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel around Australia and internationally.

“Never settle for second best! If you have a dream goal in mind for your career, be determined and don’t give up until you achieve your dreams and beyond. For my future career choices, this means I will strive to achieve a successful work-life balance so that I can continue to further my career in software testing, whilst still spending quality time with my family.” Tafline said.

WiT Employer of Choice Award sponsored by GBST - Winners


Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation

Total number of staff 368.48. 38.5% female. In the senior staff roles – senior scientists and managers – 28.4%.

The Science Division of DSITI has a strong focus on providing the best possible opportunities for staff to balance their life and work arrangements. DSITI recognise that it is important to retain highly skilled staff as their lives change with added family responsibilities. Flexible work arrangements policy and procedure and includes compressed hours, cultural leave, job sharing, lactation breaks, career leave, parental leave, purchased leave, staggered start and finish times, telecommuting and time off in lieu.

DSITI runs a program called “Women connect” which is designed to ensure women within the Department are effectively networked with one another and have access to opportunities for development and ultimately promotion. DSITI also runs a mentoring program to help people realise their fullest potential by providing an opportunity to engage in a mentoring partnership with a more experienced colleague.