One of my strengths is that I get passionate about things. And when you’re passionate about something, people follow you, especially if you can articulate the direction it will take, and the ways that it will mean something to them.
- Melissa Fitzgerald
Chair in Food Science and Technology
Professor of Food Science, University of Queensland
Despite being one of the smallest producers of rice, Australia is one of the largest rice traders in the world. And it is questions of the quality of rice, both within Australia and internationally, that informs food scientist Professor Melissa Fitzgerald’s research. Driven to conduct applied research that can positively impact people’s lives and be meaningful for industry, Melissa has held a variety of academic and industry roles, including Head of Rice Quality and Evaluating at the International Rice Research Institute, Director of the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre on Transforming the Food Industry for Australia, Asia and beyond, and holding the Australian Food and Grocery Council Chair in Food Science and Technology in the University of Queensland’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences.
In order to succeed in these diverse roles, Melissa has had to develop effective leadership strategies, and she reflects on her experiences as a leader in the podcast. Melissa’s interest in industry and undertaking research that matters has also impacted her approach to equipping her students with the necessary skills to enter industry work-ready, and Melissa explains how she supports such learning within the podcast. The podcast and video both see Melissa engage thoughtfully with questions of gender in the sciences and academia more broadly, particularly in terms of what women need in order to succeed. Linked to this analysis, in the podcast Melissa offers an insightful explanation of unconscious bias, and how we can conceptualise its impact within the individual.
Melissa Fitzgerald on mentoring women, unconscious bias, and supporting students to ensure their work-readiness.
A snapshot of our conversation with Melissa Fitzgerald