Ailie Gallant: Climate science and mentorship

How do you become a young and successful climate scientist working on real world issues and being published in prestigious industry journals? According to 2015 Young Tall Poppy Science Award winner, Ailie Grant, it’s not something you do alone.

“Monash push mentoring a lot, particularly in Science,” she says. “I was able to give my proposal to people in the School for review and they would do so, in a very constructive way!”

“We’d meet up for coffee and chat over all kinds of ideas – that informal mentoring was fantastic in terms of being able to establish and create a good project.”

Loving her workplace

Unlike many research environments, Monash is known for its friendly and supportive atmosphere. “It’s great to be a part of an environment that’s collegial rather than adversarial, where everyone is so supportive,” Ailie says.

In this nurturing environment, Ailie has risen up the ranks, being an acclaimed voice in the field of climatology – in particular, studying the effects of the atmosphere, land, water and human action on climate change. Ailie is currently a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) fellow, working on drought and climate change issues.

Support for women in science

For years – even before the recent push for gender equity – Monash has been a strong advocate of supporting female researchers, particularly in science. Ailie has done a number of courses at Monash as part of her skills development such as in assertiveness and grant writing.

“These courses are specifically targeted towards women – especially early-mid career researchers. It’s something I’m quite proud of at Monash,” says Ailie. “They realise it’s important to give women every opportunity to push through to those senior levels.”

Ailie is in the midst of preparing for her next grant – with two other female researchers – and is grateful for the support she receives. “People at Monash want to see you succeed, and they want to help you in any way that they can.”

See Ailie's profile