Profiles

We are dedicated to promoting and celebrating women in IT and Computer Science to inspire the next generation of talented technology professionals. We believe that it is important to harness the talents and perspectives of everyone to help these fields progress and have a positive impact on global and local issues.

Students

Dalal Hanna (PhD student- Network Security)

Information Technology plays a major role in every-day life, and it touches nearly every aspect of our lives. I highly recommend La Trobe University to any female who is considering IT course, as it empowers you to better understand the technologies behind many of today's careers.

What are you currently studying?

Currently, I am working towards my PhD degree in the field of Network Security (Penetration testing and Analysis in a corporate network) under the guidance of Dr Prakash Veeraraghavan and Dr Eric Pardede.

Why did you chose to study IT at La Trobe?

I chose to study at La Trobe University as it provides various fascinating opportunities for students to enhance their educational experience and develop a multi-dimensional overview, including flexible-study options and gaining real-world experiences in a unique and inspiring learning environment.

Where would you like to be in the future?

I am immensely passionate about teaching and research and wanting to help and motivate the student community; I would like to become a professor at a highly ranked university like La Trobe University.

How is La Trobe helping you achieve your career goals?

La Trobe is helping me to achieve my career goals in many different ways. It gave me an opportunity to develop and enhance my teaching and research skills. I have been working as a tutor for networking subjects at La Trobe for more than four years. The support and guidance I get from my lecturers/supervisors has helped me to become a better person and make right choices in regards to my studies.

Throughout your course so far, what has been the most challenging obstacle you have come across and how did you overcome it?

A major obstacle that I have faced was organizing my first-year study plan. When I first started my Bachelor degree, I was not able to select the right subjects for my course. I was unsure whether to do full-time or part-time study, as I was working at the same time. To overcome this obstacle, I approached my lecturers who helped and advised me on how to organize my study plans to suit my lifestyle.

Rajalakshmi Rajasekaran (PhD– Computational drug design)

We should have more females in computer science and engineering as it is for females too. I strongly encourage females to consider IT for their University education. Females have a lot of potential in this area and you can choose many careers including teaching, research and industry work. All my female family members in India are in IT. And I have always encouraged my relatives and friends to consider IT as a career option.

What are you currently studying?

I am currently doing my PhD in computer science. The topic is computational simulation and structure based drug design for pathogenic diseases.

Why did you chose to study IT and computer at La Trobe?

I was looking for opportunities to pursue my PhD after completing my Masters of Bioinformatics in India. I had a friend who was already working with Professor Phoebe Chen and I heard La Trobe is a very good place to pursue my PhD. My advisor back in India had great reviews on Latrobe and Phoebe was one of the very few experts available in my area of research.

Where would you like to be in the future?

I would like to pursue a career in academia. My ultimate career goal is to pursue a fellowship in Melbourne and teach as a professor.

How is La Trobe helping you achieve your career goals?

When I came here, I had lots of career goals and dreams. Although I haven’t achieved all of them, I have accomplished some. The important thing was that I received a postgraduate scholarship, which paid for all my university fees and assisted me with my living expenses. This helped me to concentrate on my PhD without having to work as well. La Trobe has great facilities as well as good industry and super-computing connections. With the help of these facilities and the expertise of Phoebe, I have already published a couple of papers in well reputed journals.

Throughout your course so far, what has been the most challenging obstacle you have come across and how did you overcome it?

I have always had a lot of obstacles throughout my study. Structural bioinformatics is requires the knowledge of both a molecular biologist and a computer scientist which was the major challenge I faced research wise. I eventually overcame that obstacle with the help of Phoebe.

There was also the challenge of managing my family, as I got married and had a child. It was very difficult to concentrate on my PhD with a little child. Fortunately, La Trobe allows students to take up to a two year break from your PhD. It was tough getting back into research, but my supervisor, La Trobe staff and friends have been very helpful in this situation.

Harshitha Poppala (Masters, Information Technology)

The advice which I can give to future female students is that always be ready to learn something new and if you cannot do any task, don’t hesitate to ask tutors or lecturers.

What are you currently studying?

I am studying Masters in Information Technology

Why did you chose to study IT at La Trobe?

I chose to study Information Technology at La Trobe mainly due to course structure and due to my passion for learning and improving my skills in programming languages.

Where would you like to be in the future?

I would see myself as a professor in the future.

How is La Trobe helping you achieve your career goals?

Lecturers are friendly and they will help us in every aspect. I got tutorship from which I can teach students at the same time I am learning new things. Working as a tutor helps me achieve my goal to work as a professor.

Throughout your course so far, what was the most challenging obstacle you have come across and how did you overcome it?

Throughout my course, the most challenging obstacle I came across was during my project. I took the help of my tutor and lecturer to overcome the obstacle.

Alumni

Danielle Sandrazie


The most challenging time during my studies was assignment time with assignments deadlines happening at once. The best way to overcome this was commence the assignments as they were allocated.

What did you study?

I studied a Bachelor of IT and a Bachelor of Business, majoring in HR. Prior to that, I studied a Bachelor of Arts, which was a pathway course to help me to get into IT.

Why did you chose to study IT at La Trobe?

I was local to the area and choose La Trobe University for convenience and to save time travelling.

What have you been doing since you left La Trobe?

I worked at Foster’s Group, a FMCG industry in various roles, before moving to La Trobe University as the Application Support Manager and more recently as a Senior Project Manager in Information Communication & Technology.

How did La Trobe help you achieve your career goals?

The course I did at La Trobe provided me with the foundations to IT and Management.

How has your degree helped those around you?

My degree has allowed me to talk on a similar basis of technological terminology with my colleagues.

Staff

Professor Wenny Rahayu (Head of School)

While engineering and IT might still be perceived as highly technology-oriented and male dominated, the reality is that they are among the most diverse areas as there are no career boundaries in these disciplines.

What led you to the field of engineering, computer science and IT?

I enjoy problem solving and I also like areas that are very tangible, where you can see direct applications and outcomes.

I did an undergraduate degree in electronic engineering. After completing my degree in electronics, I decided to pursue further study on software and system development. I completed my Masters and PhD in Computer Science.

Where were you working before you came to La Trobe?

I worked in an international engineering company as a product manager for their computerised control systems for about two years before pursuing a career in academia.

What role are you undertaking at La Trobe and what research are you undertaking?

For the last three years, I have been the Head of the School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. My tasks include setting the direction for the school both in teaching curriculum as well as in research, together with a team of the heads of departments and discipline leaders in the school. I also need to deal with the day-to-day operations of the school, including reviewing the courses we offer, managing the school budget, collaborating with external organisations and industry partners to promote the disciplines in the school, and working with other areas in the university to support our students. In addition to my role as Head of School, I also maintain my research activities with my team which includes a postdoctoral fellow and several PhD students. My research interests are mainly on the techniques to consolidate and link heterogeneous data from different sources in order to support decision support systems.

What’s your favourite part about your job?

I always enjoy my research activities and looking at how I can apply my research to solve industry problems. I also enjoy the interactions with people, internal and external to the university, in my role as the Head of School.

Do you have any advice for females who are considering a course in either engineering, computer science or IT?

We can work in almost any type of industry or organisation including health, business and commerce, education, entertainment, defence, transportation, as well as food and agriculture. There is also a growing interest in the social aspect of technology and engineering, which focuses on understanding the people who are impacted by the technology and the domain where it is applied.  The latest survey by LinkedIn (2016-2017) on the “top skills that can get you hired” indicated IT-related skills are among the top ten professions worldwide.  Advanced technology is no longer exclusive to large organisations or businesses only, it is immersive in the day-to-day life of the current modern world.

We strongly believe in the importance of increasing the participation of female students in all the disciplines in the school (IT, engineering, and mathematics).

Dr Jinli Cao (Senior Lecturer)

IT is a very interesting area and could take you to many different career paths. It is not difficult, you just have to use your logic to do IT.

What lead you to the field of computer science and IT?

When I was in high school, I wanted to learn new knowledge to help people and improve society. Science and information technologies influence all forms of human activity.

Where were you working before you came to La Trobe?

From 1982 to 1990, I worked successively as an associate lecturer and lecturer in computer Science at Hebei University, China. I finished my PhD (in Transaction management in Multi database systems) in 1997 at the University of Southern Queensland. In 1998, I became a full time lecturer at James Cook University. I then worked as a lecturer in computing at University of Southern Queensland from 1999 to 2002.

What role are you undertaking at La Trobe and what research are you undertaking?

I have been a full-time senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics since 2003. I teach a number of subjects related to information technology and database systems including database management systems, information systems development, data warehouse concepts and design and Java programming.

I am an active researcher in the evolutionary fields of computer science, data engineering, Cloud computing, recommendation systems and privacy protection. I have also published a number of research papers in international conferences and journals.

What’s your favourite part about your job?

I like to talk to students and teach students to improve their knowledge and skills for programming, system analysis, design and solutions.

Dr Fei Liu (Senior Lecturer)

Enrol in the Information Technology elective in your high school to give yourself an opportunity to taste it.

What lead you to the field of Computer Science and IT?

Because I found Computer Science, especially Programming and Artificial Intelligence, very attractive.

Where were you working before you came to La Trobe?

I was a lecturer in the School of Computer Science & Information Technology at RMIT University

What research are you undertaking and what subjects do you teach?

I’m currently teaching Information Systems which is a core subject for the 1st year Information Technology students. My current research is mainly in Data Mining, a branch of Artificial Intelligence.

What’s your favourite part about your job?

To be able to teach and conduct research in an area in which I’m interested in.

Professor Phoebe Chen (Professor Computer Science)

If you are passionate about computer science, then don’t be afraid to do it. There are no boundaries or limitations.

What lead you to the field of Computer Science and IT?

When I was young, I liked to study science as I liked to challenge myself and discover new things.

Where were you working before you came to La Trobe?

I have worked at a number of universities in Australia. I completed my bachelors, honours and PhD at the University of Queensland and I was also a tutor and research assistant during my studies. Before I finished my PhD, I got my first full-time job as an associate lecturer at Queensland University of Technology. I also worked at Deakin University, where I worked as an associate professor and reader for 6 and a half years before I joined La Trobe University.

What role are you undertaking at La Trobe and what research are you undertaking?

I am a professor in the Department of Computer Science and IT at La Trobe. I am also a chief investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Bioinformatics.

My research is multidisciplinary. I enjoy emerging technologies and applying my research to industry and to the scientific community. I have been doing multi-discipline research for more than 18 years. My research focus is to find effective solutions for visualizing, integrating, analysing and mining big data, complex structures and functions for scientific and biomedical applications. I have been working in many emerging areas such as bioinformatics, scientific visualization, pattern recognition, health informatics, multimedia and databases.

What’s your favourite part about your job?

My favourite part is research and how I am doing something different every day.