Australia Day award honours outstanding women in research

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Three exceptional University of Newcastle (UON) researchers have been recognised as inspiring leaders in their field, with an Australia Day Honour from the National Council of Women (NCW) of NSW.

UON PhD candidates Emma Austin, Emmalee Ford and Fleur Lankesheer represented three of the 12 women across NSW awarded for their achievements in research at a ceremony at Parliament House, Sydney on Wednesday.

The annual celebration recognises talented young women from a range of backgrounds and research fields as part of NCW NSW’s continuing commitment to social justice and women’s welfare, aiming to elevate the role of women in society.

The University congratulates these outstanding scholars on their wonderful success:

  • Emma Austin – Rural Health

As a member of UON’s Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health and Centre for Water, Climate and Land,Emma’s research investigates the links between drought and mental health and wellbeing in rural Australia.

“My research focuses on how this relationship impacts people’s capacity to adapt to future droughts, which is a significant concern given the likelihood of increased frequency and duration of drought as a result of climate change.

“I am incredibly lucky to work in an area that offers the opportunity to assist people to adapt to climate variability and change, one of the greatest global threats to human health. I’d like to thank the Country Women’s Association of NSW for sponsoring my award,” she said.

  • Emmalee Ford – Medical Biochemistry

The first in her family to attend university, Emmalee excelled firstly in her studies in science and subsequently in her work understanding and managing fertility. A passionate woman in STEMM, she is committed to her role as an advocate for females entering scientific fields.

“Through my various roles in volunteering and science communication, I hope to help inspire the next generation of women looking to pursue a career in science, and hope to convey that anyone passionate can achieve their goals.

“I am so humbled to win this award sponsored by Soroptimists International, and want to sincerely thank my supervisors for nominating me,” she said.

  • Fleur Lankesheer – Women’s History

Prior to commencing her PhD, Fleur spent a decade commercialising research and technology into goods and services within New Zealand and Australia. Utilising her science and law degrees from the University of Otago, she decided to segue her research career into history. Whilst her PhD research is on the impact of British women in the port wine industry in Portugal during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this success is as a result of previous research on women in wine, looking at women and their motivations to exhibit Australian colonial wine on the exhibition circuit of the nineteenth century.

“With this particular research I hope to pay women like Mary Penfold her dues as the winery’s first winemaker and co-founder of Penfolds, who brought these wines their earliest global acclaim and accolades.

“This award and the support of Dr Wendy Michaels and The Women’s Pioneer Society means a great deal to me. I look forward to continuing my work to promote an understanding of the historical contribution by women to the wine industry in Australia and internationally to hopefully inspire more women today to enter or remain in the industry,” she said.

The group of successful NSW recipients at the NCW award ceremony, including Emma Austin (front row, far left) Emmalee Ford (front row, second from the left) and Fleur Lankesheer (back row, third from the left)

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.