On the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we meet a mother-daughter duo who believe in the benefits that diversity can bring to STEM industries.
Mine Planning Superintendent Juliet Salmon has been working for Fortescue’s Christmas Creek mine for the past seven months. A geology graduate, she started her career at an oil and gas exploration company, before spending time as a high school science teacher.
“What I enjoy most about a career in science is the problem-solving, continuously evolving technology and at Fortescue working with a range of people from different teams to make something happen – you are not limited in what you can contribute,” she said.
Her daughter Liz is studying for her Masters of Professional Engineering at the University of Western Australia and currently works at Fortescue’s Hedland Operations as part of the Vacation Student Program.
“I always loved maths and physics in school and mechanical engineering presented itself as the most logical pathway to use my skills in an interesting, hands-on way,” she said.
“Growing up I always knew that a career in STEM was an option for me as my parents were always encouraging me – if Mum could do it, so could I.”
Both Juliet and Liz are strong advocates for diversity in STEM industries, and believe more opportunities are needed to increase the visibility of women in STEM and to provide strong role models that young women can connect with.
“Having women working in STEM brings another perspective – it is about getting the best people for the job working on the best possible outcome,” Liz said.
When asked if she had any advice for young women looking to pursue a STEM career, Juliet said it was important to “follow your passions”.
“Don’t be discouraged by the smaller proportion of women in these careers, as you can become part of a greater community of women in STEM, across a range of industries globally,” she said.
“Have confidence in yourself, be open to opportunities. STEM is a great foundation for many different avenues and can take you to places that you could never imagine.”