From studying by candlelight in a small town in southern Siberia, to recognition as Australia’s 2019 Professional Engineer of the Year, Dr Helen Cartledge has an incredible story to tell.
Dr Cartledge, in conversation with Dr Therese Flapper, will bring this journey to life during a online keynote address on International Women in Engineering Day (23 June), including how she came to lead a large program in the Department of Defence that is helping modernise Australia’s Navy capabilities.
It’s a world away from the 10 km walk a young Dr Cartledge would do to and from school each day, before curling up on a bed built of river stones to complete homework and science experiments with her mum and siblings.
While snow fell outside and the temperature dropped to -50ºC, Dr Cartledge’s mum would remind her children that “science can save the world”.
Dr Cartledge took this message to heart and continued to feed her intellectual curiosity as a child before eventually completing degrees in science and engineering. She went on to work and teach in Australia and the United States.
Along with her work with the Defence Force, Dr Cartledge has been a Senior Advisor within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and has developed technology to transform general waste products into building materials, which has been taken to developing countries.
The work of women
Dr Cartledge is an active Engineers Australia member and is passionate about promoting women in STEM, which she will discuss during her address. This includes the aim of International Women in Engineering Day, which is to highlight some of the amazing work done by women in engineering and technical roles.
“Women play an important role in the engineering world, both as professionals and as the mothers of the future world,” Dr Cartledge said.
“I believe that standing behind every successful person is a woman whose influence can have a profound effect on the life that will follow.”
To hear more from Dr Cartledge, don’t miss Engineers Australia’s International Women in Engineering Day webinar, 23 June at 5.00 pm AEST.