At STEM Sisters, our dedicated and passionate team is committed to empowering Women of Color in STEM fields. Our diverse backgrounds and experiences in STEM, education, and advocacy help us create and deliver programs tailored to the unique needs of our community.
Advisory Panel Members
Collaborators and supporters
Become a part of
At the heart of STEM Sisters is the vision and passion of our founder, Dr. Ruwangi Fernando. Her dedication to empowering Women of Colour in STEM drives our mission and has laid the foundation for our thriving community.
Dr Ruwangi Fernando is an accomplished IT expert and AI specialist with a strong academic, industry and consulting background. Dr Fernando completed her PhD at Victoria University in collaboration with Data61, CSIRO and the Department of Transport in Victoria. She chairs the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Australian Computer Society Victoria.
Dr. Fernando has a strong history of advocating for gender equity in STEM, especially addressing the intersectional challenges faced by Women of Colour (WOC) in STEM. She was recognised for her efforts and awarded a STEM Women Changemaker by the Australian Academy of Science and the Melbourne Asian Game Changer award by Asia Society.
Dr Fernando founded STEM Sisters, a pioneer organisation that empowers STEM women of colour. She spearheads six award-winning programs to break down systemic barriers and promote equal access to opportunities in STEM for WOC. Under her leadership, STEM Sisters won many awards, including the Techdiversity Business (2023) and Media (2023) Awards, the Victorian International Education Excellence Award 2022, the Multicultural Excellence Award 2022 and the WISE grant from the Department of Industry, Science and Resources.
She is also the founder of iSTEM Co., a research, consulting and talent-sourcing company that enables employment for women in STEM, including WOC and CALD. iSTEM Co. was nominated as a finalist for the Women in Digital awards and has recently launched DEIR, a recruitment-tech platform that eliminates recruitment bias for women in STEM. DEIR has also received recognition in STEM and won the Lift Women Social Impact Award.
Our Advisory Panel is composed of accomplished professionals from various STEM disciplines, as well as experts in diversity and inclusion, education, and policy. These dedicated individuals provide invaluable guidance and support, helping us refine our programs and expand our reach.
Dr Amanda Caples (Chair)
Victoria’s Lead Scientist
Professor Madhu Bhaskaran
Research Leader at RMIT University
Professor Elaine Wong
Associate Dean (Diversity and Inclusion) Engineering and IT, Melbourne University
Professor Karen Hapgood
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Swinburne University of Technology
Dr. Priya Subramanian
Head of Research and Innovation – Dulux Group
Vice-President — Circular Economy Victoria, CTO – Ichpig
Professor Anne-Marie Hede
Dean, Graduate Research, Victoria University
Program Manager, Women in Science Parkville Precinct
We rely on the dedication and support of passionate individuals who share our mission to empower women of colour in STEM fields. Our volunteers come from various backgrounds, including STEM professionals, university students, and community members committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in STEM.
Volunteering with STEM Sisters provides a unique opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the lives of women of colour in STEM while also gaining valuable experience and skills in program management, mentorship, event planning, and more. Our volunteers work on a variety of projects and initiatives.
We welcome volunteers from all backgrounds and levels of experience. If you are interested in volunteering with STEM Sisters, please visit the “Our Team” page on our website for more information on how to apply.