Alex Schumann-Gillett (PhD ’19)

21 April 2020

Alex is Director of Social Media for the ANU Women's Alumni Network.

Alex studied a Doctor of Philosophy (computational biochemistry) and graduated from ANU in 2019. She currently works as a technology consultant.

Originally from Brisbane, Alex says that the best thing about studying at ANU was being able to drive her own learning and use her curiosity to solve problems scientifically. 

"Presenting my research at conferences was always a highlight for me. Being able to explain my work and seeing that moment of understanding and interest on a person's face is very rewarding," said Alex.

She says academic research is changing in Australia and globally. "Less than two per cent of PhD graduates become career academics due to more PhD graduates than academic positions being available. So, it is important to consider the skills one gains from doing a PhD, and how they can be transferred or applied in areas other than academia."

When reflecting on women in STEM, Alex shares her own experience. "In tech consulting, I see women as role models for me. I am early in my consulting career, and I know that the women who come before me have a different lived experience to the one I will have. Generally, I see them being unapologetically themselves and getting on with the job. 

"In science research, I see many women still being subject to sexist questions and unfair assumptions, like - 'why would you want to start your own research group, when you'll just leave in nine months to go have a baby?' We really need to be better in science," said Alex.

She hopes groups like the ANU Women's Alumni Network will help showcase women living their best life and achieving their goals, and inspire women to help each other succeed. 

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