Georgia Watson joins growing list of UOW researchers selected for Homeward Bound
University of Wollongong (UOW) researcher Ms Georgia Watson has been selected for Homeward Bound 8, a global leadership initiative for women with a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) background.
Ms Watson will join 100 other women from all corners of the globe to take part in an online leadership program to improve the skills, visibility and influence of women in STEMM, which culminates in a global meet-up of partcipants in Antarctica.
“So many of my science heroes are alumni of this program and it truly is such an honour to have been selected to participate in 2023,” Ms Watson said.
“Homeward Bound seeks to equip women with the clarity, bravery and strategic capability to demonstrate a new model of leadership to proactively contribute to a more sustainable world.
“I’ll be participating in a 12-month leadership program that is part of a larger decadal initiative, with training focused on improving my leadership, visibility, strategy and the practice of kindness in science.
“It’s not that men can’t or won’t be leaders driven by compassion, care and collaboration, but that a balance of men and women in leadership teams is proven to yield better results for everyone involved.
“We need people with diverse perspectives, experiences and ideas making decisions to ensure we have the best solutions for our future and our planet.”
Ms Watson is a UOW-based research officer with Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF), an Australian-led research endeavour funded by the Australian Research Council. She is working on a longterm moss monitoring project, exploring how moss health responds to changing environmental pressures.
Ms Watson’s role with SAEF saw her travel to Casey Station in East Antarctica in 2022 where she collected moss samples in ‘the Daintree of East Antarctica’, some of most extensive and well-developed moss beds in the region.
In 2022 Georgia was appointed as an ambassador for the Antarctic Science Foundation, which allowed Georgia to further her science communication in conversations with passengers on a fourteen-hour Antarctic overflight on New Year’s Eve last year.
“I’m passionate about biodiversity conservation, climate action and science communication,” Ms Watson said.
“I feel so privileged to have been surrounded by incredible mentors, both men and women, who have supported my career as a scientist so far. I’m ready and willing to dive deep into this program, to reimagine myself and my career path with the guidance of the Homeward Bound faculty.
“I’m particularly moved by the Homeward Bound leadership model being ‘legacy-minded’, that what we do now is for those who come after us.
“Coming from an ecological background and with an understanding of climate change, I know there is a lag phase for the changes we make now to come to fruition, but also that adaptation and evolution can take place in just one generation.
“I want to be part of the shift for a better future for generations to come.”
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Sustainable Futures) Professor David Currow congratulated Ms Watson on being selected for Homeward Bound 8.
“Ms Watson’s selection for Homeward Bound 8 is a testament to her exceptional skills, knowledge, and expertise in the biologicial sciences field,” Professor Currow said.
“Ms Watson’s commitment to sustainabililty and conservation is admirable and I congratulate her on this well-deserved recognition.”
Ms Watson said in her field of biological sciences there are more women graduating with Bachelors degrees than men, but women are severely underrepresented in full time positions and senior roles.
“There’s a ‘leaky pipeline’ in science that fails us all by leaving women unsupported at critical times in their careers,” she said.
“I want to see more people supported to stay in science, as we need everyone on board to solve the world’s wicked problems we’re going to face in our lifetime, and to give the next generation a fighting chance.”
Ms Watson joins a growing list of UOW researchers who have been named Homeward Bound pariticpants in previous years. This includes Director of iAccelerate Dr Tamantha Stutchbury (Homeward Bound 5), Professor Danielle Skropeta (Homeward Bound 6) and Professor Martina Sanderson Smith (Homeward Bound 7).
Ms Watson is now fundraising to secure her spot in Homeward Bound 8.
“Whilst Homeward Bound 5, Homeward Bound 6 and Homeward Bound 7 participants who were supposed to have their trips from 2020-2022 will finally embark at the end of this year, my cohort are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, with the goal for a global meet up at the end of 2024,” Ms Watson said.
“For now, I’m fundraising to secure my spot in the 12-month training program launching in May 2023.”
You can support Ms Watson by visiting her fundraising page: https://chuffed.org/project/gwdoeshb8