Equity, diversity and inclusion

The Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health (SMAH) at the University of Wollongong values diversity and aims to be an equitable, diverse, and inclusive place to work and study. We embrace the University of Wollongong's commitment to principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion. We recognise that our continued excellence in research and education can only be achieved by attracting and retaining a diverse blend of staff and students.

We acknowledge and pay respect to the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which the University of Wollongong is situated and to Indigenous staff and students who study and work among us. We pay our respects to Aboriginal Elders past and present, who are the knowledge holders and teachers. We acknowledge their continued spiritual and cultural connection to Country. As we share knowledge, teaching, learning and research within this Faculty we also pay respect to the knowledge embedded forever within the Aboriginal Custodianship of Country.

We strive to be welcoming and supportive of all staff and students regardless of gender and sexual identity, ethnic and cultural background, disability, age, family/carer responsibilities, economic background, political affiliation, and religious belief. This commitment extends to all Faculty members: academic staff, professional staff, students and visitors.

We commit to an ongoing culture of improvement, applying best practice, measuring and reflecting on our progress, active pursuit of internal feedback, and promotion of these values within our Schools, Faculty, and University.

Working with staff and students from across the Faculty, the SMAH Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee will develop initiatives to support these principles. Details will be added to this page as initiatives are developed and implemented.

EDI feedback: share your ideas, issues, and successes

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Contacts

Dr Jenny Fisher
Building 41, Room G19
T + 61 2 4221 5484

Martina Sanderson-Smith, School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience

Anthony Dosseto, School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences

Rowena Ivers, School of Medicine

Ross Clifton, School of Nursing

SMAH has formed an HDR Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group. Read more about the working group co-chairs and members:

Noor Jarbou

Email: nsmj908@uowmail.edu.au 

I joined UOW in 2018 as a PhD student working with Associate Professor Kelly Newell of Neuroscience department, School of Medicine, Faculty of Science. My research focusses on antenatal depression; focusing on investigating the impact of current drug treatments on offspring, and proposing for another promising treatment. I casually, work as a demonstrator for mainly Genetics subjects.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Applied Biology, specialised in Genetics and Molecular Science, and a master’s degree in medical Science, in Genetics and Molecular Science, from Jordan University of Science and Technology, Jordan. I have worked as teacher assistant at Jordan University of Science and Technology, as a part time job. Then, as a senior pathologist in Jordanian Ministry of Health, working as a chair of biochemistry department.

Being an immigrant, English is my second language, plus I am mother of a gorgeous 6 years son, all of these factors have taught me how to be resilient and have empathy to others whom are trying to find their ways despite their own life obstacles. And that is why I joined EDI committee; trying to support HDR students, especially to those who need to be approached differently.


Siobhan Heatwole

Email: sjh912@uowmail.edu.au 

I’m a postgrad student specialising in marine ecology and animal behaviour, and have led a few ‘different lives’ before starting my PhD at UOW.

During my undergraduate studies in Canberra I pursued my varied interests in learning about different cultures, learning other languages and doing biological research. I’ve worked in policy development roles for Australian government agencies, as a marine researcher at universities in Australia and Taiwan, and at a conservation organisation in Indonesia. These experiences have given me the opportunity to work with a wide range of people, and to see first-hand just how valuable diverse perspectives, beliefs and skills can be in solving complex problems.

Having worked in science for quite some time in a range of contexts, I know many friends and colleagues that have also gone through the challenges of postgrad study. I strongly believe that social barriers and biases should not be among those challenges. I want to support HDR students to reach their potential, and a big part of that involves helping to build an equitable, diverse and inclusive scientific community both at UOW and more broadly.

If you’re a HDR student that would like to discuss any issues relating to equity, diversity and inclusion – whether it’s challenges you are facing or ideas you have about how we can do better – please feel free to get in touch. Your thoughts and privacy will be respected.


Working group members

Catheline Froehlich

Email: cymf988@uowmail.edu.au 

Bio: I am an HDR fellow at the University of Wollongong and an international student. As a European American, I often observe indirect discrimination against minorities back at home. I would like to ensure that UOW removes any underlying discrimination and barriers so that all students can feel welcome and equal in pursuing higher education. Our students need the support to not only survive but thrive in an academic setting. It is time to put our students’ priorities first and ensure equity, diversity, and inclusion is uphold for us all.


Gabrielle Phillips

Email: gp791@uowmail.edu.au 

'My name is Gabby and I'm currently finishing up my PhD in the School of Medicine. My research focuses on neural lipid metabolism in Huntington's disease. I want to develop a better understanding of how the disease affects lipids across different brain regions. The EDI group interested me because I thought it was really great to focus on equity and inclusion, and to build a more connected and supported community of HDR students.


Ashna Kumar

Email: aak472@uowmail.edu.au

I am a HDR student working with Professor Marie Ranson in the Cancer Cell and Molecular Biology research group at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute and School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience, UOW. My research is focussed on targeting a specific protease system strongly associated in multiple metastatic cancer types and optimising drug delivery outcomes for a subset of compounds in pancreatic cancer. I identify as a Pasifika person and am also a first-generation university student. Statistically, the Pasifika population is 3 times less likely to obtain tertiary education than the generational Australian population. As a result of underrepresentation, there is an inherent lack of motivation, support, understanding and resources available within the greater community on how to access higher education and training, graduate outcomes and what it means to be involved in HDR, especially in STEM. My interest in the EDI committee is to make higher education and STEM more accessible and equitable for a diverse cohort of students who may also identify with having similar struggles and to provide a safe and inclusive space for all students

Tamer Al-ghraiybah

Email:  tamer@uow.edu.au

Tamer Al-ghraiybah is a PhD candidate in nursing school, who is working with Dr Jenny sim, Dr. Luise Lago and Prof. Ritin Fernandez. Tamer’s research area is focusing on the improving of healthcare quality, patient safety and healthcare risk management. His PhD study focusing on work environment and its relationship with patients’ outcomes such as pressure injury, hospital acquired infection, patient fall and mortality.

Tamer Al-ghraiybah has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Jordan University of Science and Technology. Also, Tamer has more than 10 years of experience; five years as a registered nurse in intensive care unit, four years as a healthcare risk manager and two years as a teaching assistance in university.

Tamer bring this real-life experience leading to work in a team and apply high skills of communication while he was working in nursing care, healthcare management and teaching assistance. Working in multi-places exposed him to work with many people with multi-diversity background. This provides him the skills of communication and teamwork. Thus, he believes that by joining the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team, he will assist PhD students by allowing diverse voices to be heard and all to feel included.

Meet our Committee

Our EDI Committee have created videos to introduce themselves. You can view the videos at the below link, please log-in with your UOW email address via Microsoft. 

View the videos here