International Day of Women and Girls in Science - 2019

Today is about celebrating the achievements that women have made in science and encouraging more girls to study science (which is a largely male-dominated industry).

The Mackay region is host to a wealth of women working in science, including ecologist Dr Judith Wake. 

Growing up in Hervey Bay QLD, Judith spent a lot of her childhood exploring the beach and bush. Being surrounded by nature led Judith to become fascinated by plants and animals. This curiosity stayed with Judith and after graduating high school, she applied to study at James Cook University.

"There was no such thing as environmental science in my day," Judith said. "So I chose to study chemistry. I also studied biology and zoology because I loved the outdoors so much. I ended up enjoying these subjects more than chemistry and that's how I ended up in environmental science!"

Judith went on to complete her honours in marine biology researching dugongs. Afterwards, she decided to go somewhere else for her post-graduate studies so Judith moved interstate and enrolled at the University of Western Australia. She completed her PhD researching quokkas. These adorable marsupials are now famous internet sensations as the "worlds happiest animal" for their natural cheeky grins.

With her studying done, Judith returned to Queensland and moved to Eungella to follow her beliefs and live a more sustainable lifestyle.

She continued to use her research skills and became a specialist in mangrove ecosystems. 

These days, Judith works at CQ University Australia as a senior lecturer in applied and environmental sciences. She says she most enjoys teaching her students about sustainability and environmental issues. 

When asked about women in science, Judith said that there are more girls in her classes than boys.

"I think the environmental and biology sciences have always attracted more females. But there are still issues with women being underrepresented in the more senior roles such as professors and senior researchers." she said.

"You should study what you love and if you love science - whether you're a girl or a boy - you should do it."


To keep up to date with the latest environmental issues happening in Mackay, become a member of Mackay Conservation Group. Membership is free! 

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