News & Insights

International Day for Women and Girls in Science

From exploring ecosystems to working on rockets, collecting bugs and cracking the code of germination, our talented female scientists agree that every day as a scientist brings something different and something new to learn.

February 11 is International Day for Women and Girls in Science. The day recognises the challenges still faced by women in the science field. It aims to celebrate the women and girls who are leading innovation and to help find solutions to remove the barriers that hold them back.

At Cardno, we are proud that 43 percent of our scientists around the world are female, a number which is much greater than the worldwide average of 30 percent of women holding science and research roles.

Science encourages curiosity. The curiosity to find solutions to problems, the curiosity to ask questions and the curiosity to keep trying.

Sometimes, all we need to take the next step is some guidance. Our female scientists have offered some words of wisdom and career insights for those curious about a career in science.


What is the biggest breakthrough or discovery you’ve made in your time as a scientist?

Health Scientist Ania Urban sitting at computer

“A lot of my research has focused on how certain chemical exposures may cause cancer. One of the most interesting discoveries I have made sheds light into a very specific molecular mechanism behind how lung cancer may form from a specific chemical exposure. It is these small steps that allow us to understand a much bigger picture, and it’s exciting to be part of that.”

Ania Urban

– Supervising Health Scientist, San Francisco, USA

How did you choose science as your career?

“This was a complete accident, I really thought scientists just worked in labs! I just followed my nose and chose uni subjects I enjoyed and that led me to a job in environmental consulting - you don’t have to know where your career path is going to follow the science subjects you enjoy.”

Michelle Agnew

– Environmental Scientist, Melbourne, Australia
Environmental Scientist Michelle Agnew in safety workwear

What is the coolest part of your job?

Environmental Scientist Cristina Ailes attending public involvement session

“The coolest part of my job is that every project is different! I’ve had the chance to work on everything from rocket ships, to spending the day in one of the oldest prisons in the country alongside a herd of bison, to flying in a simulator for the F-35. Every project requires that I become an expert on a whole new subject matter, so the job never gets boring.”

Cristina Ailes

– Environmental Scientist, Charlottesville, United States

What’s your advice for young girls who might be considering a career in science?

“No matter what you’re interested in, whether or not it’s a career path, don’t let anyone intimidate you into not following your passion.”

Kathleen Bindley

– Archaeological Field Director, Wisconsin, United States
Archaeological Field Director Kathleen Bindley inside site dig hole

What advice would you give to your 18-year old self when deciding on a career path?

Environmental Scientist Anna Butler investigating samples in laboratory

“Do what you’re interested in, not what you think you’re good at, or what you think would be a ‘sensible’ career path. Sensible is boring. If you like what you do, you’ll be good at it.”

Anna Butler

– Environmental Scientist, Sydney, Australia

What’s your advice for young girls who might be considering a career in science?

“Don’t be afraid to be the only female in the room. Embrace it. It’s all about confidence and has nothing to do with gender. If you believe you can do the job and know your field, everyone else will believe it too.”

Jenny Allison

– Project Ecologist, Indiana, United States
Ecologist Jenny Allison kissing a tree

How did you choose science as your career?

Ecologist Sophie Starrett investigating project site

“I have always wanted a job where I get to solve complex problems using science. Also, I love that I get to spend time outside amongst nature and work with so many passionate people.”

Sophie Starrett

– Ecologist, Melbourne, Australia