[Onscreen text: DEECA celebrates: Int. Day of Women and Girls in Science 2023]

Dr. Lily Van Eeden: I'm Dr. Lily Van Eeden, and I'm a conservation scientist. My work is quite interdisciplinary, which means I draw on lots of different sciences. The big focus of the work I do currently is on behaviour change, on understanding the psychology of the way that people interact with nature. We know that people get wellbeing benefits from spending time in nature, but also to encourage people to act in ways that that protect rather than harm our ecosystems in Victoria.

As a high school student, I loved animals. I wanted to be a vet. And so I started a science degree thinking that would be the pathway there. And I quickly realised that I actually just loved the ecology subjects, learning about native plants and animals in Victoria. I think I've just been really lucky that my love of the natural environment managed to come together with a science career, and I think if more women realised that was an option, we might see more girls pursuing a similar path.

[Onscreen image: Photo of Lily van Eeden with the caption ‘Dr Lily van Eeden Conservation Scientist’]

[Onscreen text: Superstars of STEM Program]

Late last year, I was selected to be part of Science and Technology Australia's Superstars of STEM Program. And this is a program that brings together a cohort of women every couple of years, training us to be leaders and visible in the media and the people you turn to when you want to hear from scientists, helping women to recognise that they have a seat at the table, and by making female scientists more visible, that can inspire a new generation of girls to recognise there are great opportunities and exciting research, that women and girls can do in science.

One of the barriers and opportunities that I'm facing is that I've got little kids. You can't give it your best sometimes, and I've found myself finding it quite hard to be able to attend conferences when I'm still feeding a baby and it's hard for me to travel interstate. I think there's still more work to be done in lots of different workplaces.

If we've only got one section of the population shaping the innovations that we create, the directions we take in science, the decisions we make. Then we're only going to get a narrow outcome, I guess. So, the more cultural diversity we have in sciences, the more women we have in sciences, It's just going to change the way we move forward.

Everybody brings a different approach, and I think that's really valuable for improving the sciences.

[Onscreen image: DEECA logo, Victoria State Government, Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action]

Page last updated: 14/02/23