International Day of Women in STEM – Judith Castellino, Supply Chain Coordinator – Chemical Services

Feb 9, 2024

What degree / certifications do you hold?

A Master’s degree in Microbiology, Diploma in Leadership and Management, Member of the Australian Society of Microbiology (MASM); Currently pursuing a Diploma in Supply Chain & Logistics.

What is your job title and what is involved in your role?

Supply Chain Coordinator; My role in a broad sense mainly involves managing the flow of goods and services through the supply chain, liaising with vendors and transportation partners to determine scheduling and timelines. I also am working on securing and installation of some scientific equipment for the lab and drafting out procedures for the use of equipment.

⁠How do you believe your role contributes to a more sustainable future?

Our world currently needs robust supply chains that are founded on sustainability, collaboration, trust and diversification of supply. I believe my role can significantly contribute in working towards a sustainable future by using effective, collaborative approaches, recycling products and materials wherever possible, and employing intelligent thinking through and in all processes.

What made you want to pursue STEM/ engineering/science? What experiences did you have when you were younger that inspired you?

I loved the idea of working in a lab from as far as I can remember. The practical approach taken through my field of study in Microbiology and Biochemistry by working in labs not only fulfilled that dream but cemented the understanding of scientific facts/concepts and reasoning gained. Experimentation gives science its identity. Science uses experiments to discover the realities underlying the world, and this practical approach is what has resonated in me from an early age.

Experiences that inspired me:

On my first day at Uni, one of our lecturers, passed around sealed agar gel plates with various coloured microbial colonies (some fluorescent ones too which were such a treat)  in amazing patterns and colours. That was the first time I set my eyes on the beautiful and bright world of microbes, and it totally captured me. Never looked back since!

How do you believe innovation and research and development play a role in your field, and how have they influenced your work?

Supply chain innovation is imperative for enhancing supply chain performance and gaining sustainable competitive advantages. Understanding the elements in our Supply Chain has helped me employ the principles in lab R&D to my current role.

Can you tell us about a project/experience you’re particularly proud of?

There are a few I can recall from my previous roles: ‘Manipulating’ various strains of microbes so that they could be freeze dried and consistently yield a reproducible count, validation of a software package used to record scientific results, and the launch of new products from conceptualization to final product.

Do you have any advice for younger females wanting to pursue a degree in science?

Have a good supportive role model/s through school and Uni in various Science fields can certainly help younger females strive to pursue their studies. Showcase various STEM fields, their pathways and options from primary school years.

Why do you think women are historically underrepresented in STEM?

I reckon the answer has a lot to do with culture and stereotyping. Historically, women were never encouraged to think ‘outside the box’, challenge status quo, dare to dream or pursue their careers. In many cultures, which promote a patriarchal society, women were/are not encouraged to take up STEM careers, which was ‘reserved’ predominantly by/for men. Women definitively found it more difficult to follow their career in STEM fields once stepping out of University due to stereotypical roles associated with motherhood.

How do you think we could reach more girls and young women to go into STEM? What projects or experiences do you think would get more young females inspired?

By providing pathways (and alternatives) to enable women to reach their STEM goals. We also learn in different ways and enabling learning in more practical ways (and other modes of learning) and approaches can certainly help.

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