To celebrate International Women's Day we spoke to MA Sustainable Power Technology graduate Dr Morley Muse about her career journey, what it's like to work within the STEM industry and the women who inspire her. 

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Hi Dr Muse! Please tell us abit about yourself.

At USW, I studied a master's in Sustainable Power Technology. My interest in sustainable energy began from a young age of 14 during an industry visit to TOTAL/ELF Nigeria, via my high school Junior Engineers Technicians & Scientists Club. During the visit, as part of the CSR strategy of the company, they implored our young minds to co-invent strategies of mitigating crude oil spillage & alternative energy solutions. That was my first real introduction to renewable energy & I haven’t looked back since.

The masters program at USW enabled me explore various renewable power generation strategies, means of mitigating climate change, reducing carbon footprints & attaining net zero emissions. The discussions with my lecturers and peers was invaluable.

I'm the board director for Women in STEMM Australia & an advisory panel member for Elevate Women in STEM Program with The Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering (ATSE) which seeks to deliver 500 university scholarships for women in STEM through $41.2 million in funding. 

I'm also the co-founder of iSTEM Co. ,a research, consulting & talent-sourcing company that enables employment of women in STEM, including women of colour & women from culturally and linguisticaally diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

What have been some of your proudest career moments?

1. Receiving my PhD during the graduation ceremony. This was a proud and honorable moment for me, especially considering the loss of my mother & two sisters during my PhD journey. Despite the challenges, I drew strength from their memory & with the support of my family, I managed to complete my thesis and earn my degree. This was a journey of strength and resilience and a big accomplishment not just for me, but also for those who stood by me.

2. Winning the Emerging Leader in STEM award at the Women's Agenda 2022 Awards. This recognition came as a surprise & filled me with gratitude for the impact my work has made in the STEM community. As a woman of colour, receiving such a prestigious award inspired me to be a positive role model for the younger generation of women in STEM. It humbled me to know that I could inspire others.

morelymuse2
Dr Morley Muse_2

What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?

As a young girl, I was inspired by my father's passion, work ethic, & commitment to his job as a Civil & Structural Engineer. I loved watching him come home in his work boots & begging him to take me on site visits. Something about building from nothing or little spoke to me, & I knew I wanted to become an engineer. However, this path was not straightforward. 

When I told my father about my aspirations, he insisted that I study medicine instead, as he thought it would be a better choice for women. He even enrolled me in a bachelor's degree in medicine, but I switched to engineering without his knowledge. After a discussion, he saw my passion & became one of my biggest supporter. 

I can understand my father's concerns, as he may have been trying to protect me from the biases that female engineers face. I am glad that I did not focus on the negatives & am proud to be the engineer & scientist that I am today.

WHO ARE SOME OF THE WOMEN THAT INSPIRE YOU?

  • Dr Ruwangi Fernando (Data Scientist, Founder, STEM Sisters & Co-founder iSTEM Co.)

  • Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea (Scientist & Co-founder, Women in STEMM Australia)
  • Katherine Johnson (NASA Scientist/Mathematician)
  • Angela Meckel (Scientist & Former Chancellor of Germany)
  • Jacinda Ardern (Former New Zealand Prime Minister)
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Lawyer, US Supreme Court)