Monash science leader wins 2016 Telstra Victorian Business Women’s Public Sector and Academia Award

Rowan Brookes

Monash University science leader Dr Rowan Brookes has won a prestigious Telstra Victorian Business Women’s Award for her leadership in science research and education.

Dr Brookes was named winner of the Public Sector and Academia category at the 22nd Telstra Victorian Business Women’s Awards’ dinner in Melbourne on Tuesday 18 October, as well as a finalist in the National awards in the same category.

Dr Brookes was among three Monash staff and alumni to be named finalists in this year's awards. The others were Monash College CEO and Director Jo Mithen and Director Monash Industry Team Initiative (MITI) and Director Industry Engagement (Engineering and IT) Madeleine McManus.

Dr Brookes is Director of Education for the School of Biological Sciences and Course Director for Monash’s unique Honours degree, the Bachelor of Science Advanced - Global Challenges, which combines science learning with entrepreneurship. Through these roles, Dr Brookes is driven by a desire to  transform  the way STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is taught, ensuring students are equipped to be change makers and leaders on the global stage.

She also oversees new and innovative approaches to education within the School, leading multi-disciplinary research projects to support best-practice teaching, as well as inspiring her students to become life-long learners.

Accepting her 2016 Telstra Victorian Business Women’s Public Sector and Academia Award, Dr Brookes said re-thinking STEM education was one of the biggest challenges facing Australia and globally.

“A science degree must be more than just an education. I want to build a strong understanding of scientific concepts whilst fostering capacity for enterprise, science, diplomacy and leadership.”

She also said the award provided an opportunity to tell her story of a non-linear education and career path into science.

“The journey to my current position involved leaving school without any qualifications, completing a PhD whilst raising my young family and overcoming many other significant barriers,” she said.

The Telstra Business Women’s Awards are the longest running women’s awards program in Australia. For over two decades they have championed women from diverse industries, ensuring their achievements become part of the national conversation; women who are passionate, courageous and ready to  challenge  the accepted way of doing things.

State and Territory category winners will gather in Melbourne for the National Awards on Wednesday 16 November 2016.