Shining a light on Queenslands brightest women in STEM

Anu Choudhary won the 2019 Queensland Women in STEM Prize (People’s Choice Award) for her research into genetic technologies to control weeds.

What does the award mean to her?

“It’s very grounding. Being given the opportunity to be in a position where you can influence so many people, potentially, with your work and your ideas. And people are willing to listen. I hope it happens another time in my life, but it almost feels like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I want to get out there and do things. I want to make it worth their while, that they’ve chosen someone who really feels passionately about the things she’s talking about.”

There were girls from 3 schools at the award ceremony.

“It was really cool,” says Anu, “because the girls were interested in the challenges that you face in research, and that’s something I wish I had growing up: the opportunity to interact with the people who you are thinking of becoming. Because it’s not all rosy. I wish I had the chance to ask what it’s like: what are the drawbacks, what are the challenges?”

The 2019 Queensland Women in STEM winners from left to right: Amanda Dawson, Anu Choudhary and Clare Villalba (Clare’s parents accepted the award on her behalf).

The 2019 Queensland Women in STEM winners from left to right: Amanda Dawson, Anu Choudhary and Clare Villalba (Clare’s parents accepted the award on her behalf).

It was a hot day in Brisbane when Anu received her award.

“That these girls came out in their uniforms to listen, to be there on a Sunday, a really hot Sunday, was extremely flattering. It was a privilege to share my thoughts with them. It was very humbling. To be honest, I was on such a high, and so exhausted by the heat that I nearly passed out!”

What does her mum think about the award?

“My mum’s really proud. I’m surprised actually, I hadn’t thought about connecting my mum to this prize. I’m going to go home and tell her that. But she’ll be surprised and say ‘Oh, no, you did this yourself!’”