Jennie Mallela

Research School of Biology and Research School of Earth Sciences

ANU College of Science


I feel really privileged to teach, supervise, and mentor ANU students. ANU students are fun to teach, they’re bright, curious and highly creative. This year I was nominated as a “Superstar of STEM” by Science and Technology, Australia. This recognised my excellent science research, communication and outreach activities. Part of this award also entails being a positive role model for women in STEM at both a local and national level and this has been a real honour. I have incorporated ANU students into many of these activities. For example, I supervised four science communication interns this semester. They had the opportunity to run science-based activities in a local school and also hosted a science night with a Q&A expert panel. They gained credit for all of their activities.

In the last 12 months, I’ve also taught students on an intensive coral reef field course on the Great Barrier Reef. This is an amazing course to teach, and for many students it’s the first time they’ve ever snorkelled on a reef and had the opportunity to design their own mini research project in the field. It’s amazing to see their huge smiles when they lift their heads out the water. I also teach into a Masters course which help students develop critical research and presentation skills. Students usually start out shy and unsure of themselves but by the end of the course they’re giving confident, conference level presentations with beautifully designed graphics. It’s great to see their skills and confidence levels increase.

Many of the students I teach in courses subsequently go on to engage with my coral reef research. For example, I supervise special topics students, Honours students and Masters students. I also offer “research tasters” to students. Due to the short-term nature of my contracts I haven’t been allowed to be a primary supervisor for a PhD so instead I sit on the advisory panel for PhDs, act as an examiner and mentor postgraduate students across the college of Science.

A real highlight of my work this year was being invited to give a science brief to the Department of Energy and Environment about our work on pollution impacts on coral reefs. As part of this brief, I presented work by my Honours student. I love seeing our research have real world, lasting impact and my student was thrilled to know their research made a difference at the national level.  So what’s next? I’m hoping for more research and teaching in 2020 and I’m waiting to hear back from grants – so watch this space!


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