Women in Engineering Awards

The UNSW Women in Engineering Awards, presented by the Faculty of Engineering, support UNSW's wider Women in Engineering campaign to attract more female high school leavers to consider engineering as their preferred career. There are three major awards, two of which recognise the achievements of female UNSW Engineering graduates, while the other is open to any Australian female engineer. The ceremony takes place in August, to coincide with National Engineering Week. 


The awards

Ada Lovelace


The Ada Lovelace Medal for an Outstanding Woman Engineer

The Ada Lovelace Medal is awarded by UNSW Engineering to recognise an Outstanding Woman Engineer. It is named for Augusta Ada Byron (1815-1852), Countess of Lovelace, an English mathematician widely considered to be the first computer programmer. The recipient will have a minimum of 15 years of increasingly important engineering experience, contributing significantly to a field of engineering in Australia and/or internationally through technical achievements and leadership. Nominations are open to female engineers from industry or academia who are Australian citizens or permanent residents, and graduates of any recognised university in Australia or overseas. [Selection Criteria


Judy Raper The Judy Raper Award for Leadership

The Judy Raper Award for Leadership in Engineering is offered annually and is open to all female alumnae from the UNSW Faculty of Engineering, in recognition of their sustained and significant contribution through demonstrated leadership within the discipline/profession in Australia. Effective leadership is characterised by passion and commitment, setting bold objectives and achieving results, and most importantly, motivating and mobilising the talent of others for the benefit of the discipline/profession and the community at large. The awardee will receive a $5,000 prize. [Selection Criteria]



Maria Skyllas-Kazacos


The Maria Skyllas-Kazacos Young Professional Award for Outstanding Achievement

The Maria Skyllas-Kazacos Young Professional Award for Outstanding Achievement is offered annually and is open to all alumnae from the UNSW Faculty of Engineering working in any branch of industry or academia, in recognition of a significant achievement in their field. To be eligible a candidate must be 35 years of age or younger at the time of nomination. The awardee will receive a $5,000 prize. [Selection Criteria]


 If you have any technical problems submitting a nomination through the online form, please email the documents to: wiec@unsw.edu.au 

2017 winners

The Ada Lovelace Medal for an Outstanding Woman Engineer

Kathryn Fagg

Kathryn Fagg

President, Chief Executive Women

Kathryn Fagg is a chemical engineer by training who has held technical and leadership roles in the petroleum, banking, steel-making and logistics sectors. She now serves on the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia, is Chairman at Melbourne Recital Centre, and holds Non-executive Director roles at Boral, Djerriwarrh Investments, Incitec Pivot and Breast Cancer Network of Australia. She also serves as President of Chief Executive Women and speaks publicly on issues relating to gender equity in business.




The Judy Raper Award for Leadership

Cordelia Selomulya

Prof Cordelia Selomulya

Professor, Monash University

Professor Cordelia Selomulya leads the Monash Biotechnology and Food Engineering group and is director of both the Australia-China Joint Research Centre for Future Dairy Manufacturing, and the Graduate Industry Research Partnership for the Food and Dairy industry. Professor Selomulya leads the Monash Advanced Particle Engineering Laboratory in interdisciplinary research on the design of nanoparticle vaccines and mesoporous materials. She has designed a more efficient DNA vaccine delivery system for malaria using magnetic nanoparticles, revealed the role of nanoparticle adjuvants for ovarian cancer vaccines, and developed multi-stage vaccines for malaria.

Education: UNSW, Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) and Phd 


The Maria Skyllas-Kazacos Young Professional Award for Outstanding Achievement

Narelle Underwood

Narelle Underwood

NSW Surveyor General 

Narelle Underwood is the Surveyor-General of NSW and Director of Survey Operations at Spatial Services, a division of the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation. She is the first woman to ever be appointed to the role in any Australian state. As Surveyor General she is the President of the Board of Surveying and Spatial Information (BOSSI), Chair of the Geographical Names Board, NSW Surveying Taskforce and the Surveying and Mapping Industry Council.

Education: UNSW, Bachelor of Engineering (Surveying & Spatial Information Systems)


2016 winners

The Ada Lovelace Medal for an Outstanding Woman Engineer

Prof Mary O'Kane 2016 Ada Lovelace Medal recipient

Professor Mary O'Kane

NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer

Professor Mary O’Kane is the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, a company director and Executive Chairman of O’Kane Associates, and Chair or Director of multiple Australian CRCs and Institutes as well as boards in New Zealand and Washington, USA. In the past she has been Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, Chair of the board of the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy and a member of a wide array of national committees and boards related to science and technology. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and an Honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia.




The Judy Raper Award for Leadership

Athena Venios 2016 Judy Raper Award winner

Athena Venios

Technical and Group Director, AECOM

Athena Venios works on major projects in Water and Transport. She has held a variety of leadership roles focused around management of transport and infrastructure programs for major sporting events, including Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and the Grand Prix. Athena founded and chaired the KBR Women’s Professional Engagement group and has been vice chair of WIE Sydney Division of EA. She is now a committee member of AECOM’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. 

Education: UNSW, Bachelor of Engineering (Civil)



The Maria Skyllas-Kazacos Young Professional Award for Outstanding Achievement

Monique Alfris 2016 Young Professional Award Winner

Monique Alfris

Co-founder and Director, Pollinate Energy 

Pollinate Energy is an award-winning not-for-profit social business providing access to affordable clean energy technology that improves the livelihood of poor people living in India's urban slums. Previously she has worked with Good Return on developing microfinance products in several Asian countries, and in a number of green building consultancy roles in Africa and Australia. 

Education: UNSW, Bachelor of Engineering (Photovoltaics and Solar Energy)


2015 winners

The Judy Raper Award for Leadership

Vicky Binns 2015 Judy Raper Award Winner

Vicky Binns

Vice President, Copper Marketing for BHP Billiton 

As a member of the senior leadership team at BHP Billiton, Vicky Binns has been influential in the mining sector since her graduation from UNSW in 1986. She has led large teams of mining analysts at Merrill Lynch and now leads a geographically diverse team of engineering and marketing professionals at BHP Billiton. Ms Binss is also very active in the promotion of women in mining and is a co-founder and current president of Women in Mining and Resources, Singapore.

Education: UNSW, Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) (Mining) 



The Maria Skyllas-Kazacos Young Professional Award for Outstanding Achievement

Erin Cini 2015 Young Professional Award winner

Erin Cini

Director of Water Licensing and Compliance at the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of NSW

Erin Cini was recently appointed as the Director of Water Licensing and Compliance at the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of NSW and manages the team responsible for the regulation of public and private water utilities in NSW. Erin has had a varied and exemplary career across the fields of policy, planning, design, constructions, and operations within the water industry and is one of only five per cent of senior government executives that are under 35. 

Education: UNSW, Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) (Environmental)


2014 Winners

The Judy Raper Award for Leadership:

Pia Seeto

Ms Pia Seeto

Portfolio Director for Managed Services at Ericsson

Ms Pia Seeto is Portfolio Director for Managed Services at Ericsson. Pia has led teams of up to 60 Project Managers to deliver major projects for corporate clients like NBN, AMP and Telstra. She has also mentored many young women who have chosen to pursue engineering and telecommunications after her and driven gender diversity initiatives at Ericsson.

Education: Computer Engineering, Hons, Data Networks and Communications (UNSW), Graduate diploma Management (University of Ballarat)




The Maria Skyllas-Kazacos Young Professional Award for Outstanding Achievement

Lee-Anne Sylva

Ms Lee-Anne Sylva

Senior process engineer, GHD

Ms Lee-Anne Sylva is a senior process engineer for GHD. She has been involved in a variety of water and wastewater projects. Her experience includes feasibility studies, preparation of strategies, option studies, client’s technical adviser roles and involvement in various phases of design.

Education: Bachelor of Engineering (Hons 1) (Industrial Chemistry) – UNSW


2013 Winners

The Judy Raper Award for Leadership:

Dr Mehreen Faruqi

Mehreen Faruqi, MP

Greens Upper House MP, NSW Parliament

Dr Mehreen Faruqi is a NSW Greens MP and engineer whose focus is on environmental issues such as climate change, sustainability in manufacturing and waste management.

Her current portfolios include the Environment, Marine Environment and Fisheries, Transport, Healthy Lifestyles, Roads and Ports, Status of Women, Sexuality and Gender Identity, Multiculturalism, Animal Welfare, Healthy Lifestyles, and Young People.

Education: PhD in Environmental Engineering, Wastewater Treatment and Energy Recovery UNSW; Master of Engineering Science UNSW; Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Hons) University of Engineering and Technology Lahore, Pakistan


The Maria Skyllas-Kazacos Young Professional Award for Outstanding Achievement

Dr Megan Lord

Dr Megan Lord

Senior Lecturer, Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering UNSW

Dr Megan Lord was a strategic hire for an early career academic position at UNSW. She was a finalist in the Scopus Young Scientist of the Year Award in the Engineering and Technology category and received a Trans-continental grant for young scientists from the Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

She has been awarded a large variety of awards and grants, has authored 48 peer-reviewed publications and attracted $2M in research funding since 2007.

Education: Doctor of Philosophy, UNSW; Master of Biomedical Engineering, UNSW; Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical Engineering) Awarded Honours 1, UNSW


2012 Winners

The Judy Raper Award for Leadership:

Professor Rose Amal

Professor, School of Chemical Engineering, UNSW

2012 WIE Awards

Professor Rose Amal is the leader of the Particles and Catalysis Research Group at UNSW. She is also the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials.

Professor Amal has worked in the area of particle technology for over 20 years on fine particle aggregation, photocatalysis, nanoparticle synthesis and their applications. More recently, her research focus is on the design of photocatalysts and engineering systems for solar induced processes, using the sun’s energy as a clean fuel source.

Over the last 10 years, Professor Amal has secured over $15 million in grant. She published extensively in major science and engineering journals, and has strong links with various industry members and public sectors.


The Maria Skyllas-Kazacos Young Professional Award for Outstanding Achievement:

Dr Vivien Chapman


Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Chemical Engineering, UNSW

Dr Vivien Chapman holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Industrial Chemistry) and PhD in Industrial Chemistry from UNSW.

Her research focuses on electrodes for alternative aluminium production processes as part of the CSIRO’s breakthrough technology for aluminium smelting cluster.  She has presented her research findings to the CSIRO light metals flagship as well as at a number of other Australian conferences.