Francesca Maclean is paving the way for women in STEM and is passionate about empowering female students to pursue STEM career pathways.
She moved to Canberra from Darwin to study a Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Science at ANU when she was just 17 years old.
A bold and courageous move that gives you an insight into the type of person she is.
“I moved to ANU when I was 17 which was pretty scary as I had no family support network here.
“I lived at UniLodge for my first year, and my room-mate from then is still my best friend, so it shows you that ANU connections do last!”
Francesca has been a member of the Engineering Students Association since 2009 and in 2015 she founded Fifty50 - a student-run volunteer organisation that aims to develop an equitable and inclusive study and work environment – with a fellow student.
Since then Francesca has played a vital role in leading the group to run mentoring programs, workshops and public events.
“Empowering student leadership is a crucial activity of universities, and I have gained an immense amount of experience, confidence, and capability throughout my time at ANU championing gender equity in STEM through Fifty50.
“I use an evidence-based approach and an inclusive leadership style to ensure that Fifty50 is as impactful as it can be.”
“University is such a pivotal time in our lives, something I have come to appreciate more so as I teach the younger cohorts of undergraduate students in CECS – I know I have grown rapidly at ANU, particularly in my PhD, and that this a direct outcome of the environment of a university like ANU – where intellectual curiosity, passion, independence, and initiative are valued and mean that we can thrive and reach our full potential.”
Francesca is highly engaged in the ANU community and believes that giving back is essential to assisting the future generations of graduating students.
“I have donated to the ANU Fund – as I mentioned university is such a pivotal time in a young person’s life, however, there is a much larger financial burden on students today than say, 40 years ago.”
“By donating to the ANU, particularly to support students during their studies, means that instead of working multiple part-time jobs, students can take full advantage of what a university experience is supposed to be – fostering life-long learning.”
Since completing her undergraduate studies Francesca has been a PhD candidate at the College. Next month she will submit her thesis on controlling the inflammation of the brain after traumatic injury using biomaterials.
“My time at ANU has fostered my passion for solving complex problems – and I am looking forward to doing just that at an international level when I finish my PhD.”
She’s travelled to Boston and Montreal to present her research, and attended a leadership summit in New York in 2016.
“I am investigating pursuing a postdoctoral fellowship in London, otherwise I would like to go into consulting where I can help solve a lot of different problems, hopefully in the health or social sectors.”