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International Day of Women and Girls in Science

On the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, 11 February, we celebrate our diverse GenV research and field team in leading the way to create a happier and healthier future for many children and parents.

Learn more about a few members of our team.

Meet GenV Principal Research Fellow in Prevention Innovation Suzanne Mavoa

How do you work with GenV?

I lead the Geospatial Team in GenV. We want to understand how characteristics of people’s neighbourhoods relate to health, so we are assessing things like air and noise pollution, greenspace and trees, walkability, and access to services. To do this we use different types of map-based and satellite data, and analytic methods. 

WHY DID YOU GET INTO THE SCIENCE FIELD?

I have always liked learning new things and using creative approaches to answer questions and solve problems. A career in science has allowed me to do these things as part of my job.  

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG WOMEN WHO ARE THINKING ABOUT A CAREER IN SCIENCE?

It’s OK if you don’t know exactly what you want to do – careers can take interesting paths. For example, my career has taken me from computer programming, to measuring waves on beaches with video, to investigating how to design healthy cities, and I am now working in a child health research institute. So be willing to adapt and follow any interesting opportunities. 

Meet GenV Research Assistant Kate Wyatt

How do you work with GenV?

I am a Research Assistant in the GenV Cohort team. Our work is centred around enabling families from across Victoria to take part in GenV.  My role supports the design and operation of GenV. This includes maintaining our ethics and engagement with GenV families and contributing to quality research.  

Why did you get into the science field?

I have always been curious about the science of life. My interest in research really blossomed during my studies in a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours). The field of science and research is exciting, it can be challenging but also rewarding. I am grateful to work with other passionate people who want to make a real difference to the community. 

What advice would you give to young women who are thinking about a career in science?

The field of science is big and ever-changing. Don’t be afraid to chase your curiosity and try not to be discouraged if you don’t find your ‘perfect fit’ right away. The science community is rich with opportunities to grow. Be willing to learn more every day – from yourself, your peers and mentors. Embrace the challenges and surround yourself with those who support and motivate you. 

Meet PhD Student in Policy and Equity Ashleigh Shipton

How do you work with GenV?

Kia ora e te Gen-V whānau. I’m Ashleigh – a kiwi now living in Melbourne. I am super lucky to be both a PhD Candidate with Gen-V and a paediatric doctor at the Royal Children’s Hospital. My PhD is in examining the advances and harms of COVID-19 policies (lockdown, welfare subsidies, telehealth etc) on pregnancy, birth and the first 12 months postpartum in Victoria using an equity lens. 

Why did you get into the science field?

My parents are my science role models. Growing up, I was surrounded by their passion to pursue a better world through healthcare, which motivated me try do the same! From early on in my medical career, I felt a strong sense of compassion and justice to focus on health equity after witnessing high numbers of children presenting to hospital with preventable diseases perpetuated by the social determinants of health. I have since been fortunate to pursue a career as a clinician-researcher at the interface of child health and population health.


What advice would you give to young women who are thinking about a career in science?

Be brave and reach out to your role models who are currently in the careers that you one day would love to be in. Ask them how they got to where they are, if they have any solid pieces of advice for someone starting out, and even if they wouldn’t mind mentoring you! Also, be eager to learn from the brilliant minds in the teams that you may one day be working with. Make friends with your colleagues, ask them lots of questions, and be open to hearing their wisdom and expertise. My parting thought is – at the start of my career, I never imagined that medicine and child health research would be the captivating, rewarding and challenging field that it is. Every day has had its marvels, be it; seeing a child overcome cancer; interviewing a woman about their experience of giving birth in a global pandemic; or getting to collaborate with top minds in teams like Gen-V. So go for it! You’ll find your path in science that excites and challenges you. Be sure to bring others alongside you for the ride! 

Saujanya Gumidyala
Article by Saujanya Gumidyala