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Nov 2018 - To Antarctica & Beyond, K Scott

  • 22 Oct 2018 3:38 PM
    Message # 6847305
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    To Antarctica & Beyond: Expanding Leadership Horizons For Women in STEMM

    Kathryn Scott, 6 Nov 2018

    Kathryn Scott amongst Antartic sea ice; courtesy of K. Scott

    Kathryn Scott dreamed of visiting Antarctica since age 12, when a school science and technology project sparked her 20-year captivation with the icy continent. In February 2018, Kathryn achieved her childhood dream as one of 78 women from 18 countries comprising the second Homeward Bound cohort, and the largest all-female expedition to Antarctica. Homeward Bound is a global outreach initiative that emerged from the recognition of the paucity of women in leadership positions generally, and in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) fields specifically, and the cost of this to our planet. The project’s vision is - ‘within 10 years from the inaugural voyage in 2016, build a global network of 1,000 women in STEMM to influence policy and decision-making as it shapes the future of our planet’.

    The 22-day Antarctic expedition marked the culmination of a 12-month virtual program, which facilitated participants’ leadership development, strategic capability, science collaboration, and visibility and science communication skills. The 2018 cohort varied in ages, career stages and professions, ranging from engineers to economists, United Nations advisors to pilots, social scientists to secondary science teachers, veterinarians to marine biologists, and even a member of the team awarded the 2017 Nobel prize in Physics. One of the catch-lines of Homeward Bound is ‘stronger together’, which recognises the collective capability of the network, a pertinent component for women who often battle self-doubt as an additional hurdle as they navigate complex, and at times isolating, leadership landscapes.

    Oli Sansom ships bow Neko Harbour, HB18; courtesy of K. Scott

    Antarctica forms an ideal backdrop, not only because it draws global attention, but is an isolated environment apt for the introspection required for immersion in a program of Homeward Bound’s magnitude. It also enables participants to observe first-hand the value and relative fragility of the isolated continent, which is increasingly vulnerable to threats such as climate change, pollution, invasive species, and over-exploitation. The expedition took participants from Ushuaia, Argentina down as far as 68 degrees south along the Antarctic peninsula, with 15 shore landings and many encounters with spectacular scenery and an array of wildlife, including whales (Humpback, Minke and Orcas), seals (Fur, Crabeater, Elephant and Leopard) and penguins (Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adelie). Participants also visited six staffed bases – two Argentinian (Camara and Carlini), a Chinese (Great Wall), a United States (Palmer station) and two United Kingdom bases (Port Lockroy and Rothera). Meeting the scientists and support staff who are stationed for periods ranging between three and 18 months provided valuable insights into the strength of leadership and community needed to live and work in Antarctica.

    In reflecting on her experience through Homeward Bound, Kathryn resonated strongly with the term, ‘immense’ - the immense capability of the participants individually and collectively, the immensity of the place Antarctica, and the immense potential of the program to have a large and lasting impact on our world over its decade lifespan and beyond. The Homeward Bound project has already reached one third of its target of 1,000 women in STEMM and the third cohort is preparing to depart for their Antarctic expedition on 31 December 2018. For more information, visit the website www.homewardboundprojects.com.au.


    Last modified: 4 Dec 2018 8:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)



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