It is a promising time for women in science and exploration as cultural biases are slowly morphing into a more expansive and equal acceptance of female protagonists. Today, we encourage more girls to discover their value and potential in diverse and powerful roles.

As we face complicated global challenges of vital consequence to us all, the need to embrace passionate and innovative minds—regardless of gender—must take precedence over prejudice.

By championing this perspective, we can send a formative message to our youth that the world needs and values girls in every arena. Echoing this incentive, the Southern Cross University (Australia) proudly signified their support of girls in STEM and a calling to close the gap in Indigenous women’s health by awarding scholarships at an International Women’s Day celebration in Coffs Harbour (Friday 6th).

The postgraduate scholarship was awarded to Master of Marine Science Management student, Lauren Hasson.

In Her Words…

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the achievements of women, raise awareness for inequality women are facing and continue a support network for women to collaborate. As the 2020 Southern Cross University Postgraduate IWD scholar, I hope to guide and support other young upcoming female students progress through the barriers of a career in science whilst contributing to the current knowledge and sustainable management of the marine environment.

Scholarships are an invaluable way to support women to study, gain real life experience and undertake research or other career goals, and taking the stress off trying to earn an income to support living expenses along the way.

I have been fortunate to meet a diverse mix of female marine researchers and scientists who are intelligent, passionate and inspiring. Women have and will continue to contribute significantly to scientific discoveries and advances, so I hope young female students feel supported and encouraged to pursue their field of interest.

I was lucky enough to live close by to the beach where I grew up exploring and enjoying the marine environment, and now I hope to contribute positively to its protection and sustainable management for future generations to enjoy.

As part of her degree Lauren has embarked on a New Colombo Plan internship overseas and other international volunteering experiences, including at a Tongan NGO working with both marine and land animals, at the University of South Pacific helping with back reef mangrove habitats and working with Thresher Sharks in the Philippines to research diving practices and other best practice for sustaining populations.

Closer to home she’s volunteered at Mon Repos at the Southern Great Barrier Reef assisting with sea turtle conservation, is a local WIRES member providing emergency care to native wildlife, and assists PhD researchers on coral recruitment projects at the Solitary Islands Marine Park.

Lauren says the scholarship will greatly assist in the cost of additional equipment needed for her thesis research on shark population assessment, particularly Pelagic Sharks which are elusive and hard to find.

Parting thoughts from Lauren…

I want women to know they can find what they’re interested in and passionate about and pursue it even if though they may be afraid of being knocked down in a competitive field, I just encourage you to find your niche and work towards your goals.

International Women’s Day is a day for women in science to celebrate coming together to collaborate and learn from each other and support each other in these roles.