A delegation from the UNSW Faculty of Engineering recently travelled to Tokyo to take part in an exciting professional development opportunity for women.

The 2023 Rising Stars Women in Engineering Workshop gave seven emerging women leaders the opportunity to network, upskill and explore diverse academic career pathways. Three early career academics were funded by the workshop organisers following a competitive process and four were funded by the Faculty. They were accompanied by UNSW Dean of Engineering Professor Julien Epps, Deputy Dean Societal Impact and Translation Professor Rita Henderson and two engineering researchers - Professor Cordelia Selomulya and Dr Shiva Abdoli.

The workshop, which took place on 20-22 November 2023, was comprised of sessions designed to provide guidance, mentorship and inspiration to emerging women engineers. There were keynote lectures, panel discussions, social functions, poster sessions, mentoring events and a tour of The University of Tokyo—where the workshop was hosted.

Postdoctoral Research Associate at the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering Yinyan Liu was one of the engineers among the delegation. She said that every aspect of the workshop was valuable and enjoyable.

“It was my great honour to be sponsored for this amazing workshop,” said Yinyan.

“I had the opportunity to meet numerous excellent female scholars and engage in discussions about research and similar challenges as an early-career researcher. Moreover, the food was exquisite! It was a very happy and valuable experience.”

UNSW was also represented on stage within a number of sessions. Professor Rita Henderson was part of the panel discussion ‘Engaging in teaching and learning’, Professor Cordelia Selomulya moderated the panel discussion on ‘Research leadership for impact’ and Dr Shiva Abdoli was one of nine inspiring women mentors.

Yinyan Liu said that the mentoring session was particularly memorable, commenting, “Each mentor sincerely shared their experiences and challenges in their careers. I gained valuable insights from their professionalism and sincerity.”

The Rising Stars Workshop is an initiative of the Asian Deans Forum, comprised of representatives from engineering schools of seven leading Asian universities: UNSW, University of Tokyo, Tsinghua University, National Taiwan University, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Seoul National University and the National University of Singapore.

UNSW hosted the workshop in 2022 and the 5th Rising Stars Workshop will be hosted by the National University of Singapore in 2024.