Growing up in Tropical North Queensland, clarinet-playing, science-loving Marguerite Evans-Galea felt like a “square peg in a round hole”. But thanks to her supportive family and a lifelong mentor - who also happened to be a university professor - Marguerite was inspired to pursue a career in STEM.
As she tells Claire in this podcast: “He really did inspire me to thrive. He said, ‘think outside the box, go have a future, believe in yourself’. Those words stuck like glue and were a real inspiration.”
Today Dr Evans-Galea is a leading research scientist, neurogenetic disease specialist and Non-Executive Director who has had a long and distinguished career in Australia and the USA.
She is Director of STEM Careers Strategy with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, co-founder and co-chair of Women in STEMM Australia and Honorary Fellow at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and has been a member of Women on Boards since 2012.
In this podcast, Dr Evans-Galea talks about how she studied classical music at university before switching to science and falling in love with molecular biology. “I loved the concept of exploring something I couldn't see and DNA was my favorite thing in the world. I'd read a book in grade 11 about the pursuit of the double helix and found it fascinating.”
She also discusses the challenges facing many women in science and shares her own experience when she was let go from her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Utah in 2000 when she got pregnant. As she says: “I felt like I’d been hit with a wet fish”.
Claire and Dr Evans-Galea also talk about the importance of mentors and role models for women in STEM, what scientists and ‘boffins’ can bring to the boardroom and why we all need to take time to connect.