Senior School students acknowledged International Women’s Day in their weekly Assembly and Community time on Tuesday, hearing presentations from some amazing women.

Dr Elahe Abdi, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Monash University, shared her story of travelling and studying internationally, which has led to some incredible accomplishments.

Dr Abdi is also the Director of Robotics in Medicine and Interaction Laboratory and the Robotics Education Liaison Representative at the Australian Robotics and Automation Association.

Dr Abdi has received numerous recognitions for her leadership and efforts for encouraging diversity in Engineering, including being selected as a Finalist for the Women’s Agenda Award “Emerging Leader in STEM” in 2021, and Women Leading Tech Award Education/Research in 2023. Most recently, she was named as one of Science and Technology Australia’s Superstars of STEM 2023.

One of Dr Abdi’s messages to students was that, while a plan may be made for one’s future and it appears to have a linear approach, the reality of a journey to success is far less straightforward. Grasping opportunities and stepping outside her comfort zone, yet still within her areas of passion, have led to amazing achievements for Dr Abdi.

The second presenter, Ms Natalia Zivcic, is a 2013 alumna of TKS. Natalia completed a Bachelor of Science degree, conducting research into how computer modelling can be used to replace live animal models for the purposes of scientific experimentation. Natalia went on to study a Juris Doctor of Law and hosted a podcast called Juris Sisters where she interviewed women about the experiences and challenges they faced working in the law and changing the law.

Natalia has published several articles, including an ABC article advocating against changes to sexual assault laws in Victoria. Natalia now works in the intellectual property law team at MinterEllison and also has a large pro bono practice which centres around supporting women facing homelessness and financial challenges.

Natalie’s message to students was to continue to persevere in the face of adversity; her own experiences have taught her to rise to the challenges encountered, especially when identifying a passion and interest in a specific area.

It was a great pleasure to have Elahe and Natalia present to our Year 7 to 12 cohorts, and hope that their messages impact positively on the students.

Mrs Toni-Ann Bright
Head of People and Culture