Program Director of the University of Wollongong’s Global Challenges Program, Dr Tamantha Stutchbury will be one of the eighty women, chosen to take part in the the fifth Homeward Bound leadership program and voyage to Antarctica.
Over the last six years, Tamantha has, through her role, provided leadership and support to our 600 researchers across the programs’ 100 projects. She has had a strong focus on gender equality advocating for more women to be leading research teams. Tamantha, applied for Homeward Bound to build connections with other like-minded women leaders internationally and to develop this further.
“I am passionate about research and gender equality. I’d like to bring what I learn at homeward bound back to the women researchers we work with as part of the Global Challenges program and well as more broadly within our region and globally.”
At her core, Tam is a scientist with three distinct and inter-related ‘careers’. With an interest in drug design since she was in high school, her first degree was in Medicinal Chemistry, followed by a PhD. She became a post-doctoral scientist looking at pre-clinical assessments of novel cancer therapies.
“The team I was a part of was able to take a cancer drug from the bench to clinical trials. To get a product into human trial was always the pinnacle.”
“While I am no longer at the lab bench, I bring that approach and rigor to all that I do. I am an example of someone who left the lab, at the time of having children, who has utilised their skills and training to build a successful non-academic career.”
Dr Stutchbury is a mum and step-mum of four children, including three daughters. Passionate, outgoing and committed to supporting the next generation of women
“Through Homeward Bound my aim to reinforce what I have tried to instil in them - that they can be anything,"
Tam is dedicated to building up both academic and professional women.
“I always extend the ladder down behind me, I have made a commitment to supporting and mentoring younger women, especially women in STEMM that are looking for more from academia or are interested in non-academic careers.”
Dr Stutchbury has a strong belief that people from a science background that don’t go on to academia should not be seen as a failure and she herself is an example for others who want to make impact outside of the traditional academic science career.
“The Global Challenges Program is a career highlight for me. The program has changed the research landscape at my university; our interdisciplinary teams are making an impact and our novel program design also provides a model for national and international research communities.”
Dr Stutchbury’s career achievements are many, but she has had huge challenges too.
“These challenges have made me a better person, and a better leader. At my heart I am a positive person, who likes to tackle challenges head on, but I have also learnt when to say no and when to ask for help.
“I am ready to absorb as much and I can on Homeward Bound and share my own professional and personal experience with peers and mentors, who have similar goals and values.”
The Global Challenges Program has more than just one connection to the Homeward Bound program. Sustaining Coastal and Marine Zones Challenge Leader, Senior Professor Sharon Robinson, a plant ecophysiologist and climate change biologist, co-led the 2019 On Board Science theme of Homeward Bound last year. Professor Robinson encouraged Dr Tamantha Stutchbury to apply.
“Homeward Bound is empowering a worldwide network of women in STEMM to tackle the biggest global challenge - our warming world.
“Tam is an excellent candidate for Homeward Bound. She will offer a wealth of experience to the program and I feel she will also really benefit from the opportunity to grow her network internationally,” she said.
Dr Stutchbury says this process of sharing experiences and mentoring is important for women and that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’.
“Women need other women mentors and role models. I am totally frustrated by the lack of representation of scientists, particularly women scientists in industry, on boards, in politics and it is time that this changed.
“Programs like Homeward Bound that give us the tools and networks we need to break down the barriers that are preventing us from ensuring a sustainable planet and achieving diversity in global leadership. I am so excited to be accepted as part of Homeward Bound 5.”
Homeward bound is a global leadership initiative that aims to network and upskill 1000 women with a STEMM background over 10 years (2016-2026). See the full list of Homeward Bound 5 partipants.
Dr Tamantha Stutchbury will document her progress on her blog Just Ask Tam, or you can follow her journey on Twitter @tamstutch.