The ASA Early Career Researchers chapter is pleased to announce a virtual talk series touching upon how to manage your career and job search in the midst of a pandemic, with all its related stresses and dislocations. As we confirm all speakers in a session, we will update the speaker info.

Each session will run Wednesdays 12:30 – 2pm AEST. Registration is free and will remain open till Sep 16. Please register here to receive the zoom information, plus all future emails about this virtual series will be circulated among the registered attendees.

Recordings of the talks can be found on the ECR youtube channel.

Every session will have a ~30 mins where the panelists respond to questions from the attendees.

Biographies of the speakers and panelists:

Inger Mewburn

Inger is currently the Director of Researcher Development at The Australian National University where she oversees professional development workshops and programs for all ANU researchers. Aside from creating new posts on the Thesis Whisperer blog, she writes scholarly papers, books and book chapters about research education, with a special interest in post PhD employability.

Mark Krumholz

Mark received his PhD from UC Berkeley in 2005, and went on to a Hubble Fellowship at Princeton (2005-2008) and then a faculty position at UC Santa Cruz (2008-2015). In 2015 he became a professor at Australian National University, where he currently serves as associate director of education and is an ARC Future Fellow. His research focuses on the theory of star and galaxy formation, and he has advised more than 40 postdocs and research students over his career.

Hayley Latcham:

Hayley is an award-nominated entrepreneur and Body Image Coach specialising in helping busy, career-focused women to overcome negative body image and disordered eating, as well as improve their self-esteem and emotional resilience. Being an anorexia survivor herself, Hayley is on a mission to educate and empower women to redefine what feels good for their body and to break free from unrealistic expectations and societal pressures of thinness and dieting and live a fulfilling life on their terms.

Meredith Nash

Meredith is an Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Tasmania and an accredited executive coach. Her research broadly explores gendered inequalities in everyday life. Current projects focus on issues of inclusion, diversity, and equity in STEMM. She plays a leading role in the feature documentary, The Leadership, screening at Melbourne International Film Festival.

Sally Purcell

Sally has worked in the HR & Career Development field for over 30 years working with a broad range of clients and stakeholders. Sally has been working as the HDR Professional Skills Program Manager at Macquarie University for 5 years and in that time has run a suite of workshops, created online resources and provided networking opportunities for HDR candidates while also working with Research Supervisors to help them to support their HDRs in making career decisions. Sally has created a podcast to share HDR career stories .

Jill Rathborne

Jill is the Director of Research for the Inclusive Organisation Group of companies, collectively they are on a mission to create a world where everyone is included. Jill had a 20 year international career as an astronomy research scientist and it was this experience that fuelled her passion for gender equality and to drive global social change to improve inclusion for all people. After stepping away from her astronomy research career, Jill helped establish the national pilot program to improve gender equity in STEMM in Australia’s higher education and research sector. As the Director of Research for the Inclusive Organisation, she helps organisations identify opportunities for inclusion improvements through evidence-based research to prove the ROI benefit of inclusion. She also leads a global social research project to discover the full breadth of lived experiences of individuals. Jill’s goal is to create a global movement of change through the organisations, governments, and institutions we all interact with daily.

Geoff Clayton

Geoff is the Ball Family Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Louisiana State University. His research interests include dust formation and evolution in various environments including the interstellar medium in the Local Group, Core-Collapse Supernovae, and R Coronae Borealis stars. Geoff has served on the IAU Working Group on Women in Astronomy, and as chair of the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy of the American Astronomical Society. He has been working at home for the last four months.

Jonti Horner

Jonti first became interested in astronomy at the age of five, after catching part of a TV show called ‘The Sky at Night’. He received his DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2004, and spent time as a postdoc at the University of Bern and the UK’s Open University, before spending a year as a teaching fellow at the University of Durham, in 2009-10. He then moved to Australia, taking up a postdoc position at UNSW, before moving to USQ in 2014. He is now Professor of Astrophysics at USQ, where he researches a variety of topics, including the formation and evolution of the Solar system, the search for Exoplanets, and astrobiology. He is also an enthusiastic science communicator, having written 86 articles for The Conversation, and giving regular radio and TV interviews.

Victoria Firth-Smith

Victoria is a pākehā lesbian experience designer, autoethnographic researcher and doctoral educator. Since 2016, she has relished being the Manager, HDR Experience at the Australian National University. V is also a PhD candidate in Experience Design at Monash University; her thesis Make Welcome, critically explores university welcome practices. In her spare time, V has enhanced the Canberra community through her work on YES! Fest, and Haig Park Experiments.

Mita Brierley

After gaining her PhD in Astronomy from the University of Canterbury, NZ, Mita moved to Australia and into management and business roles. She is currently Chief Business Officer at Astronomy Australia Ltd. Mita is involved with the governance, management and oversight of a number of domestic and international projects and facilities in which Australian astronomers have an interest, as well as working with the Australian government to secure funding for these activities. She has been managing a wide range of stakeholder relationships, as well as family, friends and professional support networks, full time from home since March, sometimes with young children thrown in the mix.

Richard McDermid

Richard is an Associate Professor at Macquarie University, and Deputy Director of the Macquarie University Research Centre for Astronomy, Astrophysics and Astrophotonics. His field of research is galaxy evolution, specialising in stellar dynamics and stellar populations. He is a recent ARC Future Fellow holder and leads the science development of a new instrument (called “MAVIS”) that Australia is building with an international partnership for the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile. Originally from Scotland, he obtained his PhD from the University of Durham in the UK, followed by a postdoc at Leiden University, becoming staff astronomer at Gemini Observatory in Hawaii, prior to joining Macquarie in 2013.

Kim-Vy Tran

Kim-Vy has been a professional astronomer for 20+ years and is currently faculty in the School of Physics at UNSW. She was also a professor at Texas A&M University and the University of Zürich. Throughout her career, she has been a strong advocate of promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion at all levels. Kim-Vy has extensive experience mentoring young scientists and helping people develop professional skills.

Cathryn Trott

Cathryn is an Associate Professor at ICRAR-Curtin University trying to detect the neutral hydrogen signal from the era of the first stars with low-frequency radiotelescopes. During her PhD, she studied the structure of galaxies with gravitational lensing, and then moved into industry to work as a management consultant for McKinsey & Co. for two years, before returning to science research. She moved into medical imaging physics in Boston, before taking family leave and working part-time for many years. Upon her return to Australia, she joined the radio astronomy group at Curtin. She is an ARC Future Fellow, President of the ASA, and has had the great opportunity to serve on many national and international committees.

Caroline Foster

Caroline is an ASTRO3D Fellow at the University of Sydney and the Australian representative on the European Southern Observatory (ESO)’s Users Committee. Her research broadly focuses on understanding the buildup and evolution of structure in the universe, with a passion for galaxy formation and evolution. She is originally from Canada, but initially came to Australia for her PhD in astrophysics, which she completed in 2011 at Swinburne University of Technology. She has been a research fellow at the ESO in Chile and the Australian Astronomical Observatory in Australia before moving to the University of Sydney in 2017. She is part of the leadership team for the MAGPI survey. Other current collaborations include SAMI, HECTOR and DEVILS.

Anthea King

Anthea is currently working as a data scientist for Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers. She has been in that position for just under 2 years. She earned her PhD in astrophysics in 2015, jointly between University of Queensland and University of Copenhagen, studying quasars as distance indicators and whether they could be informative in distinguishing between evolving dark energy models. After finishing here PhD, Anthea held a 3-year postdoctoral research position at the University of Melbourne for studying the structure of the broad line region of quasars. After this position she transitioned to data science and landed her current role. She is currently using machine learning and non-linear optimization in various large-scale analytics problems within the various businesses under the umbrella of Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers.

Jacob Seiler

Jacob completed his PhD late 2019 at Swinburne University, focusing on simulating the Epoch of Reionization. Since then, he has worked as a Data Scientist at Medius Health in Sydney. Jacob works side-by-side with clinical experts to develop machine learning and rules-based approaches to quantify health and provide quality healthcare to everyone, regardless of their physical location. His current work aims to predict the longterm risk of developing chronic diseases based on lifestyle factors and medical history.

Richard Scalzo

Richard is a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Sydney node of Data Analytics for Resources and the Environment (DARE), an ARC Centre and PhD training program in data science to solve Australia’s environmental challenges across mineral exploration, ground and surface water, and biodiversity. He received his PhD in Physics from the University of Chicago in 2004 and held postdoctoral positions at LBL, Yale, and ANU leading work in time-domain astrophysical surveys before switching to data science in 2015. Dr Scalzo’s current involves advanced data fusion and Markov chain Monte Carlo methods for environmental science problems, with current emphasis on 3-D modeling for geology and geophysics. He also has independent consulting experience in short projects across water, forestry and green energy.

Suk Yee Yong

Suk Yee is a recent graduate with a PhD in Astrophysics at the University of Melbourne who is seeking to start a professional career during this pandemic crisis. Her PhD research explores the structure of quasars through modelling and data analysis using statistical methods and machine learning. During her PhD, Suk Yee also completed two data science related internships at the Astronomy Data and Compute Services and at the Centre for Eye Research Australia. The first project involved recovering the 3D shape of galaxies using deep neural network. For the second internship, Suk Yee worked in a biomedical field, where she employed deep learning techniques to extract retinal features from hyperspectral images.

Jennifer Piscionere

Jennifer is a Data Scientist working on the Generation Victoria project at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, where her responsibilities cover everything from data governance to dashboarding. She has worked in a wide variety of fields, starting with obtaining her PhD Astronomy studying galaxy clustering and ending up in public health and clinical data, with stops in patent data and bioinformatics along the way. She cares deeply about using data visualisation as an essential communication tool.

Cormac Purcell

Cormac’s background is in astronomy – he spent 18 years researching star-formation and cosmic magnetism in the Milky Way. In recent years he developed a passion for interdisciplinary research and collaborated with the NSW Department of Primary Industries, applying machine learning to detect shark species from drones. In 2019 he founded the X-Sensing Conference on scientific analytics to unite academics and industry professionals. He is now Program Director at Trillium Australia and leader of the Bushfire Data Quest – a research accelerator program focused on mitigating the effect of bushfires.

Marilena Salvo

Marilena has an astronomy degree from Padua University, Italy and a PhD from the Australian National University. Her main field of research was Type Ia supernovae. She has extensive experience with optical observations in Italy, the Canary Islands, ESO La Silla, Mt Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories. She was a PhD student at Mt Stromlo during the 2003 Canberra bushfires. When she left research, she went into the not for profit sector, where she worked for various associations and membership bodies. She currently manages the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases, the peak body for infectious diseases specialists, which is quite an interesting challenge during a pandemic!

Neil Crighton

Neil spent 15 years in astronomy, where he studied the intergalactic medium. Three years ago he left academia to join the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Australia’s competition regulator and consumer law champion. At the ACCC he has assisted with enforcement actions against international companies, assessments of major company mergers, and inquiries into digital platform markets. He currently works in the ACCC’s Electricity Markets branch, which monitors the national electricity market and prices paid by electricity customers. He feels uncomfortable writing about himself in the third person.

Kirsten Howley

Kirsten is a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). She works on issues pertaining to national security, including planetary defense. Her work involves deriving analytic equations and leveraging large-scale computing systems (supercomputers) to simulate asteroid deflection scenarios, with a focus on the effectiveness of standoff nuclear explosions to alter the speed – and thus orbital timing – of potential threats.

 In addition to her planetary defense work, she is involved in modeling and executing hydrodynamic experiments important to assessing the safety, security and effectiveness of explosive devices related to national security.

Kirsten holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in astronomy and astrophysics from UC Santa Cruz, and a B.A. in physics and astrophysics from UC Berkeley, where she was an active member of University of California Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UCLEADS) program and a member of Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP), respectively. She joined LLNL as a graduate student summer intern in 2007, worked as a postdoc and was hired onto the staff in 2013. She was the first of what has become numerous staff members who got their start at LLNL as postdocs and graduate interns conducting planetary defense research.

Fang Yuan

Fang Yuan is the Assistant Director of the Product Development team in the Digital Earth Australia program and a member of the Digital Earth Africa Establishment team at Geoscience Australia. She is involved in the development of satellite imagery-based products for applications related to natural resources, disaster management, land cover and change monitoring for Australia and Africa. Fang has a PhD in Physics from University of Michigan and previously worked at ANU as an Astrophysicist specialised in the study of cosmic explosions.