With her career intersecting STEM, counter-terrorism, geopolitics and international affairs, Under Secretary Jenkins is an inspiring woman with a long list of achievements.  She has experience coordinating global threat reduction initiatives, serving as the U.S. representative to the G7 Global Summit, and playing pivotal roles in nuclear security summits.  As Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Jenkins is currently responsible for three key bureaus and leads programs for AUKUS – the three-way security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Held in association with International Women’s Day 2024, the conversation on Wednesday 6 March was not only an opportunity for participants to gain some career inspiration, but to discover Under Secretary Jenkins’ perspectives on the future of diversity in STEM. She was asked how STEM professionals could respond to what she perceives as the most pressing global challenges of the future; and what barrier she would remove in order to foster more diversity in STEM.

In her conversation with the audience, Jenkins inspired with her message of finding what you have a passion for and testing the status quo whilst also appreciating the value from the insights of others. She shared personal examples of taking opportunities that are presented and the importance of finding the people who believe in you, whilst also knowing how to manage boundaries as you journey through your career. Jenkins expressed the hope that more people of all walks of life, and especially those that would increase diversity, would pursue work in the STEM field to increase its strength and reach to help everyone.

The event was hosted by the Hon. Professor Verity Firth AM, Vice-President Societal Impact, Equity & Engagement; and Professor Rita Henderson, Deputy Dean, Societal Impact and Translation.

Under Secretary Jenkins’ visit to UNSW was part of a four-day visit to Canberra, Sydney and Wellington, NZ, throughout which she helped to advance conversations on arms control, international security, and AUKUS, while celebrating International Women’s Day and continuing to promote the importance of women in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and security leadership.  Jenkins was part of a delegation of five from the United States, which also included U.S. Consul General, Christine Elder; AUKUS Senior Advisor Matthew Steinhelfer; AUKUS Advisor Nicholas Hasko; and AUKUS Strategic Communications Advisor Mari Faines.