The ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science is proud to announce the 2020 recipient of the Natasha Linard Scholarship for Women in Engineering and Technology, Elizabeth Elias, in celebration of International Women's Day.
The scholarship honours the late Dr Natasha Linard, an inspiring role model for female engineers. She was one of the first female students to graduate with a Bachelor of Engineering at ANU and, subsequently, with a PhD in Engineering.
Dr Linard dedicated herself enthusiastically to mentoring young women, both as students and professional engineers.
This year’s recipient Elizabeth is studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)/Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Mechanics and Materials, and Ancient History.
Elizabeth is passionate about humanitarian engineering. She is a workshop facilitator for Engineers Without Borders (EWB), an organisation dedicated to using engineering to build a sustainable future.
She is an active member of the College community, and is involved with the ANU Engineering Students Association and ANU Fifty50.
“Engineering and computing can sometimes be daunting or uninviting for young women to enter. There are social stigmas around the pursuit of typically male interests or professions.”
“I truly believe that anyone, regardless of gender, orientation, or social circumstance has the ability to make a positive impact through engineering,” she said.
Elizabeth had some fantastic role models to guide her to her chosen career.
“My grandmother studied chemistry at university, and has been a programmer for all of my life. My mother is a doctor and has recently completed a Masters in health and fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators,” she said.
She believes that opportunities like the Natasha Linard scholarship are an important way to encourage women in STEM.
“Scholarships are like a leg up. They exemplify the support a university can offer, and show that equality is a priority. They are opportunities that allow you to consider paths that many young women wouldn't”.
The award will allow Elizabeth to spend more time organising outreach and workshops with EWB.
It will also support her work with ANU Fifty50, a student-run association encouraging gender equity in STEM.
“My role this year as part of 'pathways and empowerment' is to bridge the gap between employers and students. The scholarship will give me credibility – and the time – to make businesses receptive to working with us,” she said.
The scholarship committee wishes to acknowledge the exceptional pool of applicants and recognise the extraordinary talent of the 2020 cohort. The committee were delighted to have such a strong response, with many outstanding young women now choosing to study technology and engineering.
International Women’s Day is an occasion to celebrate all women and recognise those with the courage and commitment to advance their disciplines.