Physics PhD student joins influential leadership program for women

The Homeward Bound program has struck a chord with PhD candidate Isobel Romero-Shaw.

Congratulations to Physics PhD candidate Isobel Romero-Shaw who has just found out she has been selected for the 6th Homeward Bound program, a project which supports women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) to take up leadership roles globally and contribute to a sustainable world.

Isobel is a third-year PhD candidate at the Monash University School of Physics and Astronomy where she is focusing on gravitational-wave astrophysics, looking at ripples in space-time.

The Homeward Bound program is competitive. Almost  400 women applied for the 6th Homeward Bound program and Isobel was one of the 100 successful applicants.

“This program really struck a chord with me,” said Isobel.

“I think it’s important for more women and minorities to be in leadership positions - powerful businesses and institutions need to consider issues from a range of perspectives,” she said.

“We need our leaders to put the wellbeing of the environment before the wellbeing of bank accounts, so training future leaders to prioritise sustainability is vital.

“And, as the world becomes more dependent on the Internet and electronic devices, I’m interested in spreading awareness of the energy demands of computational power, and implementing ways to mitigate the negative effects of that demand.”

Isobel will now commence the process of raising money to fund her place. The ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) has already committed $5000 toward the $33,000 Isobel needs.

The Homeward Bound program includes trips to places such as Antarctica and Ushuaia, a town on the southernmost tip of South America. However COVID-10 has put a hold on the travel until a globally accessible vaccine is available.

In March Isobel will start an 11-month virtual training program that will include monthly Zoom calls, masterclasses, one-to-one coaching and regional face-to-face meetings (COVID-19 restrictions permitting) and the following year there are plans for travel to Ushuaia, and Antarctica.

“Whilst on the voyage, we’ll do more leadership training and workshops, as well as having seminars from Antarctica scientists, and of course take lots of photos of the amazing scenery,” said Isobel.

The 6th Homeward Bound training program will be run online for around 10 hours a month, and Isobel is planning to complete it alongside her PhD, which she is aiming to finalise in February 2022 -  just before the Antarctic voyage.

“I’m super excited to be part of an international community of amazing women who are passionate about working for a sustainable future,” Isobel said.

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Silvia Dropulich
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