Uni Life

10 women who make UoN great

From lecturers to student leaders, Sarah Iuliano looks at 10 women who have made UoN great, in no particular order.

International Women's Day logo in purple

International Women’s Day comes but once a year, but we University of Newcastle students are lucky to have these ladies with us from day one of the academic calendar until its end, whether in office or in legacy.

Professor Caroline McMillen
Vice-Chancellor and University President

Look, I don’t know how to put this, but the VC is kind of a big deal.

Since joining our university in 2011, she has been instrumental in developing policies such as UoN becoming a smoke free campus by July 2014 and the NeW Directions Strategic Plan.

With a Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University (sorry for name-dropping!), Professor McMillen juggles her role at UoN with her position as chair of the Endocrinology, Reproduction and Development Commission of the International Union of Physiological Societies.

She’s supervised more than 50 Honours and PhD students, too. As I said, kind of a big deal.

The Hon Elizabeth Andreas Evatt, AO
Former Chancellor

The namesake of Evatt House, Elizabeth Andreas Evatt was appointed the first Chief Justice of the Australian Family Court.

On the international stage, she was the first Aussie to be named on a UN board as a member of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in 1984.

With such professional expertise (and can you say: Master of Laws from Harvard?) it’s no wonder our university snaffled her up as our third chancellor from 1988-1994.

P.S. During this period she also was the president of the Australian Law Reform Commission.

P.P.S. Too many other achievements to mention.

P.P.P.S. Do her proud, Evatt House.

Leanne Holt
Wollotuka Institute Director (Indigenous Student Engagement, Employment and Collaboration)

There’s a reason why the University of Newcastle has culminated the nation’s largest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tertiary enrolments. That is, the Wollotuka Institute and its Indigenous Student Engagement program directed by Leanne Holt.

The program works to involve students wholly with our uni, from academic initiatives such determining passion alongside traditional degree entrance criteria to cultural and sporting events.

Members of University of Newcastle’s Women’s Collective

A mention goes to the group known as our Women’s Collective for its inclusive views on gender.

The collective provides a safe space in the NUSA building to discuss issues pertaining to all people who identify themselves as women, from trans* to biological ladies. It is also a space where breastfeeding is totally as cool as making a cup of tea. A+.

Dr Angela Philp
Lecturer and Watt Space committee member

When not lecturing UoN’s future Brett Whiteleys and Patricia Piccininis, Dr Angela Philp curates their creations at the Watt Space Gallery.

Having completed her Philosophy Doctorate thesis on museums and the public sphere in Australia, Dr Philp combines the theoretical and the practical as a fine art representative on the gallery committee.

As a Commonwealth Approved Art Valuer for Australian art, Aboriginal and International art, she’s one our visual artists will want to impress.

Newcastle Robogals

Gendered careers is a thing, okay? Actually, it’s not okay and it’s quite pronounced in the sciences. The team of UoN students who run the not-for-profit Newy chapter of Robogals aims to increase young girls’ interest in engineering.

Lead by Hayley Ovenden, Newcastle Robogals work towards increasing the number of women in engineering with school-based programs for girls aged 10-14, which feature Lego robotics. Where were they when you were at school, right?

Irena Ivanovic-Howley
Alumni and Scholarship Namesake

English is renowned as a particularly difficult language to master, with the deliciousness that is SPAG (spelling, grammar and punctuation) sometimes hard to grasp even for the fluent.

In her memory, the Irena Ivanovic-Howley scholarship helps other students with English as a second language who have completed Open Foundation or Newstep with their fees.

Following the Yugoslav Wars, Bosnian-born Irena moved to Australia and enrolled in Open Foundation at UoN. While her native tongue was initially an issue with her tuition, she graduated with first class Honours in Commerce and became a lecturer at our business school.

She passed away in 2005 after a short battle with cancer, but her legacy still aids in enhancing our university’s multiculturalism.

Associate Professor Sarah Johnson
Digital Security Researcher

Edward Snowden, Julian Assange: brace yourselves. UoN’s Associate Professor Sarah Johnson’s work aims to keep out cyber snoops from government, business and defence intelligence.

With her research partners, she is developing a ‘quantum key’ which allows secure transfer of data between two parties. It’s hoped this can even be applied to the everyday functions of plebs such as credit card payments and email.

Joy Ingall
Scholarship Namesake

The Joy Ingall Scholarship is indeed a joy for undergrad and postgrad vocal students at the Conservatorium of Music.

After graduating from Sydney’s Con, studying piano, Joy’s musical career was put on the backburner as she started a family. Having succumbed to cancer, she was unable to rekindle it as Singleton-born friend Norman Bushman would have hoped.

At the bequest of her supporter, one annual scholarship of $15,000 dollars is given to a deserving protégé to let Joy’s musical spirit live on.

Professor Clare Collins
Researcher & UoN Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Co-Director

Professor Clare Collins is a leader at our Physical Activity and Nutrition Research Centre, which with her input has been deemed ‘well above world standard’ by the  2012 Excellence in Research for Australia assessment.

Her individual research aims to curb the obesity epidemic with tools such as her Healthy Eating Quiz which allows you to check how you’re going compared with recommended weekly intakes.

This quiz is quite an eye-opener, I took it thinking I’d be amazing because I’m a vegetarian on a permanent healthy eating kick (read: diet). Nailed the veggie section, failed the fruit section… oops!

These are just 10 great women in our institution’s history. Where will you fit in?

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