About SHE Outreach

We inspire, mentor and nurture young people in our high schools to take up challenges in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). We encourage participants of our workshops to:

  • engage with our scientists
  • confront the issues of our times
  • discover the global context that STEM continually evolves in.

Meet our team

Our Science Outreach team is a dedicated group of educators, researchers and scientists with a passion for education, science communication and a shared commitment.

Francesca Calati

Program Manager

Francesca is an experienced high school science teacher, one-time children’s bookshop proprietor and former industrial chemist recognised for her skills in bringing emerging sciences like nanoscience into mainstream education, and for her educational leadership skills.

A recipient of both the Prime Minister’s Prize and the Victorian Curriculum Innovation Award for her pioneering work with Access Nano, a world-first Nanotechnology resource aligned to both the Victorian and National Curriculum, Ms Calati has a lifelong commitment to developing and delivering high-level multi-disciplinary science education in schools.

Our programs are practical, innovative, collaborative and academically rigorous, creating opportunities for students and teachers to discover new learning and teaching pathways, and new future-ready career options for STEM-literate students.

Dr Jessica Kvansakul

Melbourne coordinator

Jessica studied physics at Imperial College London and has a PhD in optics and vision science. Formerly involved in physics and vision research at the University of Melbourne, Dr Kvansakul also edits the Australian Optical Society’s quarterly newsletter AOS News.

She coordinates the Science Outreach bookings at La Trobe’s Melbourne campus and helps run the University’s physics and psychology outreach programs. Dr Kvansakul also designed the new Colour and Optical Illusions workshop.

If you show students how differently some people see the world, you’re communicating the magic of science.

Rachel Meredith

Bendigo coordinator

Rachel is an educator and biology teacher who attributes her reputation for flexibility to her regional influences. She combines her passions for science and education by coordinating Bendigo campus workshops that encompass both curriculum and current research.

Through collaboration with scientists and teachers, we can make learning real for students.

Dr Anjali Sahasrabudhe

Biology and regional coordinator

Anjali is a researcher turned educator, who transitioned to education after eight years working in biological research at the CSIRO. Her role includes designing, developing and coordinating aspects of VCE and Middle Years Outreach Biology workshops, liaising with academic staff on all campuses, and coordinating and delivering innovative STEM workshops for regional and rural students attending Outreach regional roadshows.

Dr Sahasrabudhe has a passion for science education and a strong interest in building teacher capacity and developing innovative and relevant science lessons.

Lessons should lead students on a journey of curiosity to discover the joy of science.

Phebe Sabbarapu

Chemistry coordinator and technical officer

Phebe has a Master’s degree in chemical sciences and a skill for simplifying “scientific slang”. She enjoys instilling in young minds a further understanding of science and its applications in their everyday lives. Ms Sabbarapu also works as a laboratory demonstrator and subject support tutor for the first year undergraduate chemistry program.

My reward for teaching and demonstrating lies in changing students’ perception about chemistry as ‘the most hated subject'

Ottavia Marinacci

Science Outreach finance and administration coordinator

Ottavia is a La Trobe economics and law graduate who has worked at La Trobe for the past 14 years. After a 13-year career with BP Oil (Australia), starting as a marketing graduate and progressing to project management, she worked as a sessional teacher in the business and finance department at Victoria University.

Ms Marinacci coordinates, administers and monitors Outreach financial matters. Working mostly behind the scenes, she enjoys organising University tours and presentations for senior schools.

I share the excitement and vision of students’ future possibilities

Madeline Toner

Professional Learning Programs and UniBridges coordinator

Madeline has a degree in agricultural science and a background in research and development in the dairy industry. She has a commitment to science communication.

Ms Toner is a Japanese linguist and qualified secondary teacher who enjoys working with “a great bunch of women from different backgrounds with the common goal of improving STEM education and uptake.”

Making science more accessible, relevant, interesting and fun.