For International Women’s Day, we spoke to 15 women in our Centre about their research, the challenges they’ve faced, and advice to women wanting to pursue a career in science.





Jay Mistry

Morena Mills

Cathy Smith

Jay Mistry

“Indigenous and smallholder worldviews and voices are seldom heard or incorporated into fire decision-making, and I’ve facilitated intercultural workshops bringing together local leaders, government agencies and scientists to explore ways in which we can better listen to each other’s knowledge.”

“I am a first-generation PhD from Latin America, so there have always been challenges, but the biggest thus far has been balancing parenting and academia during the pandemic. That period involved finding courage and energy to keep going.”

For me, having a bit of time working outside academia has been a very important driver in finding ‘real world’ questions, issues, and communities that I care about and want to dedicate research to.”


Abi Croker

Rahinatu Sidiki Alare

Simona Dossi

“I have experienced both personal and professional challenges and hurdles. I believe these challenges test our strength and ability to persevere and pursue our goals. Though they also highlight what is truly important in this world and help shape our outlook and approach to life.”

“As women we have great potential to pursue a career in science. Given how quickly the world is shifting towards technology, societies that embrace STEM-related courses will fare better. We must close the gender gap in STEM education for women so that we may not only benefit from STEM intervention but also act as change agents.”

“Studying wildfires is interesting and motivating. There is a strong need and passion in improving wildfire understanding and management. I have noticed a lot of exposure to new topics and of eagerness in collaborating. This is especially good because fire science is so diverse, in terms of disciplines and of world areas involved.”

Michaela Flegrova

Erika Piroli

Vissia Didin Ardiyani

“There have definitely been moments when I have doubted whether doing a PhD is something I should, or even could do. I think impostor syndrome is really common in academia though and talking about it with other people definitely helps.”

“I am trying to learn self-kindness and not to add further pressure on myself while working for what I believe in. I would like all women to approach this world, which is still not fully accessible to them, with this lightness of thought: you don’t have to prove anything to anyone.”

“Becoming a researcher, and being a parent at the same time is uneasy balance between the ambition I have to be a researcher and for looking after my sons. However, this should not be a barrier to pursue a career as a researcher if you have a solid motivation to get involved in making the world a better place.”

Olivia Haas

Yanan Liu

Adriana Ford

“I have always been fascinated by how wildfires interact with all aspects of life, including human populations and vegetation. The more I learn about wildfires, the more complex I realize it is as a process. I also love how interdisciplinary fire science is, it interacts with human science, culture, and history.”

“I would like to tell women who want to pursue a career in science, it is crucial to build up your confidence and trust yourself. Science is for everyone, and you can achieve your ambitions just like men.”

“Try not to compare yourself to others. Science is full of high achievers and there are so many factors at play when it comes to ‘success’ (and success is subjective anyway). Focus on doing well in whatever it is you’re doing, and try to find what you enjoy and an environment you can thrive in.”

Bibiana Bilbao

Yicheng Shen

Rossella Arcucci

“The most important thing is always staying authentic by maintaining our values as women. Aim at conciliation, inclusion, and the integration of science to the expression of historically silenced voices”

“It is amazing to find out how things are related to each other and use the relationships to predict fire in the future or to look back to historical times”

“My PhD supervisor was a roughly 70-year-old Professor. He used to say: “You’re not a student and don’t have a particular gender right now; we’re just two brains working for science”. Since then, when I have a meeting, I just focus on the “brains”!”


Leadership Team