72 episodes

Conversations with women in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine) about their journeys, work, passions, and what they learned along the way.

We’re a diverse group of people with unique personal and professional journeys, and I want you to meet some of us.

This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

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STEAM Powered Michele Ong

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

Conversations with women in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine) about their journeys, work, passions, and what they learned along the way.

We’re a diverse group of people with unique personal and professional journeys, and I want you to meet some of us.

This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Podscribe - https://podscribe.com/privacy
Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy
OP3 - https://op3.dev/privacy
Podsights - https://podsights.com/privacy

    Chasing fireballs and the evolution of our solar system with Professor Gretchen Benedix

    Chasing fireballs and the evolution of our solar system with Professor Gretchen Benedix

    We've spoken about indirect career paths, but Professor Gretchen Benedix calls hers the pinball method, starting on a course that could change direction when she strikes something that she'd like to delve more into. This method has served Gretchen well and has given her opportunities to work with Dr Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, chase fireballs over the desert, hunt meteorites in Antarctica, and even get an asteroid named after her.
    Join us as we speak with Gretchen about her journey to astrogeology, discovering how the solar system evolved, and the Desert Fireball Network.
    About Professor Gretchen Benedix 
    Gretchen Benedix is a Professor (and former Australian Research Council Future Fellow) in the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Curtin University. She is also a member of the Space Science and Technology Centre, the largest research group dedicated to Planetary Science in the southern hemisphere.
    She is a fierce STEM and Women in Science advocate and takes her responsibility as a role model very seriously. She uses her work to inspire young people and pass along her passion for understanding our Solar System.
    Gretchen's research interests lie in the study of meteorites to understand and unravel the evolution of the Solar System. She and her team are currently interested in using machine learning techniques to extend our ability to interact with big datasets, specifically looking at the numbers of craters on other planetary surfaces.
    Gretchen wants to understand how the Earth fits into the history of the Solar System.
    … And also, she loves rocks…
    Gretchen has a broad educational background in Geology, Engineering, and Physics, which lets her pull together multidisciplinary ideas to unravel the mysteries of the rocks.
    She also loves science communication and has had the opportunity to work at two world-class museums as a planetary scientist, cosmic mineralogist, and astro-geologist, where Gretchen had the pleasure of sharing what she does --- It's just one of the many aspects of her job that she loves - to be able to get other people, especially young folks, excited about studying our solar system and our place in it.
    Show Notes (link)
    [00:01:38] How one gets an asteroid named after them.
    [00:04:56] Gretchen's journey began in psychology.
    [00:06:52] The transition from psychology to physics was not smooth sailing.
    [00:08:29] The slow drift into space and getting hooked on rocks.
    [00:11:35] The beauty of geology.
    [00:16:19] Being flexible gives you the space to be open to opportunities.
    [00:18:34] Looking to space because you can't look inside the Earth.
    [00:22:41] Comparative planetology and looking at our system in context.
    [00:26:49] Context and time scales.
    [00:28:59] The engineering in space travel.
    [00:32:48] The Desert Fireball Network. 
    [00:36:42] Location, location, location.
    [00:38:31] Tying it back to their origins and the solar system.
    [00:40:35] Meteorite families.
    [00:43:47] Surprising learnings so far.
    [00:46:47] The two-body problem.
    Connect with STEAM Powered
    Website | YouTube | Facebook | Instagram | a href="https://twitter.com/steampoweredshw" rel="noopener noreferrer"...

    • 52 min
    Veterinary policy and mental health with Dr Lydia Pethick

    Veterinary policy and mental health with Dr Lydia Pethick

    A common misconception about veterinary sciences is that it’s all about puppies and kittens, but that’s not always the case. Like other care providers, vets can have it tough in the service of the community and there is a lot of active work being done to ensure the vet industry, its people, the community, and not just the animals, can thrive.
    Join us as we speak with Dr Lydia Pethick, veterinarian, motivational speaker, and television presenter about working in policy and biosecurity as a vet, the state of mental health and wellbeing in the veterinary industry, and the actionable things we can do to positively impact our mindset and prevent burnout.
    Note: This episode contains a content warning. Please see the show notes below for more information.
    About Dr Lydia Pethick 
    Dr Lydia Pethick is a policy veterinarian at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) in Western Australia where she works in the area of Biosecurity and Sustainability, to grow and protect WA's agriculture and food sector.
    She is passionate about increasing wellbeing, resilience, collaboration, and camaraderie within the Veterinary profession, raising awareness of mental health struggles in the wider community, and journeying from a place of judgement to joy. She uses her veterinary, permaculture, and wellness training to holistically, creatively, and practically integrate animal husbandry, therapeutic horticulture, and regenerative practices to build resilience within self, family, our communities and beyond.
    Lydia is a speaker at national and international conferences, where she shares her passion about the exciting work in the veterinary industry to improve the health and lives of animals and humans, and is also a TV presenter on Garden Gurus.
    Show Notes (link)
    [00:01:27] Lydia's journey to veterinary science.
    [00:02:12] Biosecurity through veterinary science.
    [00:03:10] What biosecurity policy entails.
    [00:05:56] Mental health and well-being in the vet space (Content warning: mentions of suicide, emotional blackmail)
    [00:08:41] The initiatives to raise awareness and support vets and their communities.
    [00:11:24] Bringing in broader professional skills and support at the university level for future vets.
    [00:13:20] Support at the industry board level in this capacity across multiple sectors.
    [00:15:10] SMART, and strategies for managing individual well-being.
    [00:15:44] 'S' is for self-acceptance, state of mind, and self-care.
    [00:18:26] 'M' is for mood boosters like morning sun, movement, and music.
    [00:22:23] 'A' is for awareness.
    [00:23:38] 'R' is for relationships.
    [00:24:25] 'T' is for treasure hunting.
    [00:26:16] Take things a little at a time to improve yourself or your situation.
    [00:27:31] Lydia's own experiences with burnout and a desire for change.
    [00:28:44] The stigma and loneliness of personal struggles and wanting people to know they're not alone.
    [00:30:31] Horticultural therapy in Lydia's life and work.
    [00:34:55] Finding coaches for your own direction finding.
    [00:35:51] What advice would you give someone who would like to do what you do, and what advice should they ignore?
    Connect with STEAM Powered
    Website | YouTube | Facebook | a href="https://instagram.com/steampoweredshow" rel="noopener noreferrer"...

    • 40 min
    Plant immune systems and SciArt with Eleonora Moratto

    Plant immune systems and SciArt with Eleonora Moratto

    A common thread between the arts and the sciences is storytelling. In both scenarios you’re building worlds, and creating an understanding of the mechanisms that make the system work (or not work), and the relationships within that bubble.
    Eleonora Moratto is the Biology Ballerina. She is a freelance professional ballet dancer, and is currently completing her PhD in plant pathogen interactions. Join us as we speak about Eleonora’s work exploring electrical fields and plant immune systems, and her journey as a sciartist.
    About Eleonora Moratto 
    Eleonora Moratto is The Biology Ballerina. She is completing her PhD in plant pathogen interactions at Imperial College, London. She is a freelance professional ballet dancer currently working with the Ballet Dream Arts company and is involved in SciArt projects, women in STEAM activities, long hair modelling, and historical reenactment.
    Show Notes (link)
    [00:01:08] Eleonora's path to biology.
    [00:03:30] Researching plant pathogen interactions, specifically Phytophthora palmivora.
    [00:05:22] Looking for novel solutions that prevent the spread.
    [00:07:33] Exploring electric fields around plants and pathogens.
    [00:11:47] Looking to her future in academia and biological interactions.
    [00:13:52] The wider applications of research in interactions and electrical fields.
    [00:15:17] The Biology Ballerina.
    [00:17:02] A SciArtist's dream.
    [00:19:00] The balance of the arts and sciences for Eleonora.
    [00:22:41] Freelancing as a ballerina.
    [00:25:15] SciArts in the wild.
    [00:28:37] Encourage the polymaths and multihyphenates.
    [00:30:25] Passion is interesting.
    [00:31:45] What advice would you give someone who'd like to do what you do, and what advice should they ignore?
    [00:34:05] Find out more about Eleonora and her work.
    Connect with STEAM Powered
    Website | YouTube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Patreon
    Hosted and produced by Michele Ong.
    Music is "Gypsy Jazz in Paris 1935" by Brett Van Donsel.


    This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

    Podscribe - https://podscribe.com/privacy
    Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy
    OP3 - https://op3.dev/privacy
    Podsights - https://podsights.com/privacy

    • 35 min
    Growth and sustainability with Dr Sandy Chong

    Growth and sustainability with Dr Sandy Chong

    Sustainability is more than just the environment. If you look at the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it's also about accessibility, equity, and inclusion in multiple areas of society, and covers things like the economy, infrastructure, community, and yes, climate and the environment. But they're the kinds of goals that bring everybody up so that no one is left behind.
    Join us in our conversation with Dr Sandy Chong, founding member of the Sustainable Development Goals Forum in WA, former president of the United Nations Association of WA, and member of the World Economic Forum Expert Network. We speak about the impact of digital inclusion and how the UN Sustainable Development Goals benefit us all, and are for now, not later.
    About Dr Sandy Chong 
    A Harvard Alumna and Principal of Verity Consulting, Dr Sandy Chong is an award-winning Executive of the Year, Asia's Top Sustainability Women of the Year, and Singapore Management Consultant of the Year. The former President of the United Nations Association and the Founding Chair of the UN SDGs Business Forums in Western Australia, Sandy has chaired international forums that promote digital and energy transition. These include the inaugural Web3 for Sustainability Conference, the Intercity Hydrogen delegation between Singapore and Australia, and the upcoming AI & Data Science of Business Conference in Singapore. She was recently invited to speak on Digital Inclusion and the Impact of AI in International Trade convened by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Geneva. With over 20 years’ experience leading multidisciplinary projects, advising trade agencies and industry councils, Sandy currently serves on public-listed board and is the Chair of the ASEAN Business Alliance. Earning a Ph.D. in Digital Commerce in 2003 and appointed Adjunct Professor of Curtin University, Sandy has published peer-reviewed journals on international business, innovation adoption and sustainability since 2005.
    Show Notes (link)
    [00:01:09] Sandy's journey from marketing and management information systems.
    [00:02:50] The cycles of growth in technology.
    [00:04:06] The anthropological view of technology in society.
    [00:05:58] Technological transformation and change management.
    [00:08:19] Starting clients on the path to digital adoption.
    [00:13:34] Bringing about cultural change within an organisation.
    [00:15:35] Play to the strengths of your people, and help them thrive.
    [00:18:30] The risks behind digital adoption accelerating past digital literacy.
    [00:20:38] Closing the gap on digital literacy of new technologies.
    [00:24:48] The ethics of technology and how we use it.
    [00:26:42] Building (and keeping) trust.
    [00:28:53] Transparency and authenticity in your leadership.
    [00:32:37] Sandy's work with the UN Association of Australia and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
    [00:34:22] Change can only be made when ideas leave the activism space.
    [00:38:46] Australia's ranking for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
    [00:41:01] The pragmatic reasons for taking action.
    [00:43:08] How private enterprise and communities measure their performance with the SDGs.
    [00:47:13] What advice would you give someone who'd like to do what you do and what advice should they ignore?
    Connect with STEAM Powered
    Website | YouTube | Facebook | a...

    • 51 min
    Creating opportunities for work-life choices with Dr Sirisha Kuchimanchi

    Creating opportunities for work-life choices with Dr Sirisha Kuchimanchi

    What is your personal worth? From an internal perspective, it's about having confidence in your sense of self and your values. But let's expand on that. Your worth can also be viewed in the connections you have made in your personal or professional communities, be it the kids' soccer parent who knows a job you'd be great for, or the ex-coworker whose passion project is your passion, too. It's also of course your financial position and what you can do to change it. Because growth in all these areas gives you more space to grow as well.
    Join us as we speak with Sirisha Kuchimanchi, entrepreneur, speaker, and former engineering and manufacturing executive, about navigating her career through economic downturns, and how the different aspects of your personal worth give you more options.
    About Dr Sirisha Kuchimanchi 
    Dr Sirisha Kuchimanchi is the Founder of "Sahita", a Global Community for South Asian Women for Career & Financial Empowerment. She is an active investor supporting Women funded businesses.
    Her aim is to promote gender equity by empowering more women to take control of their careers and finances. Sirisha is a Former Engineering & Manufacturing Executive with over 17 years of experience at Texas Instruments (Fortune 200) a Semiconductor Design and Manufacturing Company. She co-chaired the Technology & Manufacturing Women’s ERG which supported over 500 women across 3 continents and 8 countries.
    Sirisha hosts the podcast "Women, Career & Life", ranked at the top 30% on Spotify, where she provides practical ideas and resources for women to further their career & life goals. She also hosts a weekly Live Radio Talk Show "Life Beats with Sirisha" on 104.1 FM which has a reach of over half a million listeners from the South Asian Community. She strives to create a platform for diverse voices and perspectives to be heard, so listeners can succeed both personally and professionally while building a stronger community.
    Sirisha is on the elected Board of Governors of The Podcast Academy which supports podcast makers and globally advances the cultural merit of the medium. Sirisha successfully traversed her return to work after getting laid off less than a year after entering the corporate world. A few years later, Sirisha made a conscious decision to be a stay-at-home mum during which time Sirisha earned her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
    Show Notes (link)
    [00:01:05] Sirisha's beginnings in physics.
    [00:02:43] The transition to material science and engineering.
    [00:04:24] The value of being able to explore the industry while pursuing higher studies.
    [00:05:34] We all leave social breadcrumbs and create networks through our interactions.
    [00:07:13] The experience of layoffs.
    [00:09:40] The contrast of working as a contractor vs a permanent employee.
    [00:10:33] Sirisha's second career break and the decision to return to school.
    [00:14:25] Sometimes the market makes the decision for you.
    [00:15:25] Financial literacy and preparation gives you choices and flexibility.
    [00:16:37] Looking after our financial futures because work shouldn't dictate our lives.
    [00:21:04] The stigma attached to speaking about money or death matters.
    [00:23:31] Risk management and your priorities.
    [00:25:44] Everyone is a potential candidate for an information interview.
    [00:28:23] The grass is always greener. But you don't know unless you try.
    [00:30:36] Your background and culture in a work context as an asset or liability.
    [00:34:06] Ask for what you want, but you have to know what you want first.
    [00:35:29] Considerations as a woman or POC in leadership.
    [00:37:29]

    • 46 min
    Systems thinking and the future of architecture with Evelyn Lee

    Systems thinking and the future of architecture with Evelyn Lee

    Architecture has always struck me as a multidisciplinary field. It draws knowledge from all areas of STEMM into creating the spaces in which we live and work. But that's not always how this profession is perceived and this reflects in the way the industry has and needs to evolve.
    Evelyn Lee is Head of Workplace Strategy and Innovation at Slack Technologies, and Founder of Practice of Architecture. Join us as we speak about the Evelyn's journey through architecture and tech, the future of architecture, and systems thinking in physical and organisational environments.
    About Evelyn Lee 
    Evelyn Lee, FAIA, is the first-ever Global Head of Workplace Strategy and Innovation at Slack Technologies, Founder of the Practice of Architecture, and Co-Host of the Podcast, Practice Disrupted. Lee integrates her business and architecture background with a qualitative and quantitative focus to build better experiences for the organisation's employees, clients, and guests.
    She is widely published, wrote a monthly column for Contract magazine for over three years, and is now a frequent contributor to Architect Magazine. Evelyn has received numerous industry awards, including 2016 40 Under 40 award for Building Design + Construction and the 2014 AIA National Young Architects Award. She recently served as the first-ever female Treasurer to the AIA National Board in 2020-2021.
    Show Notes (link)
    [00:01:07] What drew Evelyn to architecture?
    [00:03:46] How Evelyn envisaged a career in architecture.
    [00:06:24] What does the average career in architecture look like?
    [00:09:40] Attrition in the architecture industry.
    [00:12:07] The need for business education as part of architecture programs.
    [00:15:37] The culture of the industry. Having to earn your way before you are welcome.
    [00:17:23] The sense of prestige of the profession vs the tangible value that architects offer.
    [00:19:07] What can we change that will provide more value to the industry?
    [00:21:48] The innovations in the architecture space.
    [00:23:57] Evolving the role of firms and the client experience.
    [00:26:08] Evelyn's architecture journey and the desire to stay involved with the architecture industry.
    [00:28:25] The Practice of Architecture.
    [00:32:01] Evelyn's journey to tech.
    [00:33:47] Applied workplace strategy and operation processes.
    [00:36:52] A change in space requires cultural change management as well.
    [00:38:10] Architects are systems thinkers.
    [00:40:08] Evelyn's future in architecture and systems thinking.
    [00:43:52] What advice would you give someone who'd like to do what you do, and what advice should they ignore?
    Connect with STEAM Powered
    Website | YouTube | Facebook | a...

    • 50 min

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I was a guest on Michele’s podcast and we had a wonderful conversation!

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