Francesca is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion in STEM, driven by her experiences in engineering and a love of understanding, communicating, and solving complex problems.
She has delivered notable keynotes for the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, Male Champions of Change at the National Press Club, Defence Science and Technology Group Inspiring Speaker Seminars, and the Digital Transformation Agency, as well as a variety of other forums including the Australian Public Service STEM Working Group and the ANU STEM Teaching & Learning Colloquium.
For her contributions to promoting gender equity in STEM, Francesca was named 2017 ACT Young Woman of the Year, 2018 ANU Postgraduate Student of the Year, and was one of 30 Australian women with STEM PhDs to be selected in Science&Technology Australia’s inaugural Superstars of STEM. In 2019 Francesca was selected for the Victorian Government’s Joan Kirner Young Women Leaders Program, in which she founded The Fortem Project to unravel the complexity of gender equity in STEM. She is an up-and-coming profile within the media, featured in the Australian Financial Review for her work in gender equity, and appearing on ABC News Breakfast and Radio.
Francesca is currently a Senior Consultant in Advisory Services and Australasian Disability Leader at the independent engineering firm Arup.
Francesca completed her PhD in tissue engineering, investigating biomaterials to control the inflammatory response of the brain after traumatic injury. During this time she co-founded Fifty50, a student-led movement at the Australian National University (ANU) promoting gender equity in STEM, which was named Engineers Australia’s Best Student Group in Gender Diversity in 2017. She was also awarded the ANU Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Tutoring in 2017 after educating over 300 undergraduate engineering students during her time at ANU. Francesca also holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons)/Bachelor of Science (’13) with First Class Honours from the ANU.