“Network, network, network! Don’t underestimate the value in talking to people and sharing and receiving insights, connections and advice”
Dr Nikki Sims-Chilton is currently the Senior Community Relations Advisor in research and relationship management at Seqwater in Brisbane. Previously she was a Principal Project Officer in the Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist, Queensland Government, where she actively managed the Queensland Chief Scientist’s Engaging Queenslanders in Science strategy with the aim of creating a Queensland population that supports and advocates for science. Nikki also served on the QUT Science and Engineering Faculty Academic Board and Queensland National Science Week committee. Since completing her PhD in 2009, Nikki has been actively involved in providing support and policy advice across the science sector. Nikki is also a Mum to two children: Abbie (6) and Harry (4) and is the Vice President of the school’s P&C.
What do you think is the most important character trait in a successful scientist?
The ability to communicate simply and effectively is so important in all aspects of a career in science; from writing papers to giving talks and meeting people at networking functions.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to women just starting their careers in STEMM? What was the key thing that helped you get to where you are today?
Network, network, network! Don’t underestimate the value in talking to people and sharing and receiving insights, connections and advice.
What one thing do you feel that all of us (the public and scientists) can do to most help the position of women in Australian science?
Public promotion and awareness of more women succeeding in science is vital to ensure women working in STEMM become household names. One would hope that over time this may lead to perception changes for our future generation of scientists (both boys and girls). Unfortunately, I believe the stereotype of males as scientists still exists.
“You can’t be what you can’t see” Marie Wilson from the White House Project.
If you have done multiple types of roles, what skills from your PhD could be applied to all?
Completing a PhD gives you the skills to think critically as well as manage large multi-faceted projects where time management and negotiation skills are vital to get the project completed on time. These skills are so important in many jobs.
What are your favourite past-times or hobbies?
I love to read – mostly fiction books, which is my escape from work and family life. I have recently started my own podcast and blog ‘In Mum’s good books’ – which includes book recommendations for Mums by Mums as well as talking about the challenges and triumphs of Mum-life.
LinkedIn: Nikki Sims-Chilton