Aleesha Rodriguez is an activist, social scientist, and currently a PhD Candidate in the Digital Media Research Centre at QUT. Her research explores online public debates about the ‘world’s largest lithium-ion battery’ – the Hornsdale Power Reserve – built by Tesla in South Australia. Previously, Aleesha worked as a Mac and iOS technician for Apple and she co-organised the School Strike 4 Climate march on March 15, 2019, where 10,000 students and their supporters rallied in Brisbane for climate justice. Aleesha’s work interrogates the intersection of the environment, technology, energy, and society, and she advocates for urgent, yet considered, action on the climate crisis.
Damien Slinger is a passionate engineer acting to inspire environmental transparency and immediate climate action within Australia. Day-to-day, he works as an energy consultant for Ernst and Young (EY) where he and his team forecast the future of Australia’s National Energy Market and advise their clients on the suitability of their multimillion-dollar renewable energy projects. When he is not working, he enjoys teaching, playing sports with friends, asking challenging questions, and cooking up a storm.
Didi Winter spent ten years working alongside some of the most ‘challenging and complex’ young people living in Child Safety residential care in Queensland. Inspired by these young people, Didi is currently completing her Master’s at QUT to practice as a Developmental and Educational Psychologist. Didi is passionate about childhood development, trauma, and understanding the human condition. Didi hopes that through her contribution to the field of childhood trauma, she can help to promote equal opportunity and belonging for the Young People in out-of-home care in our communities.
Duku possesses an unyielding work ethic and personal drive. He is an internationally renowned inspirational speaker, Entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, UN Youth Delegate and LinkedIn Youth Editor. His accumulated knowledge and experience are seldom found even in the most travelled of people. In the broader community, Duku is known as a man who accomplishes whatever he sets his mind towards. His aspiring nature and insatiable appetite for learning set him apart from the rest of his peers. As Duku continues to chase after his dreams and make strides for societal change, one thing is for certain – he is someone to look out for.
Academic & Social Worker
Heather Fraser (PhD) is an Associate Professor in Social Work at QUT, who started her career working in refuges for women and young people fleeing violence 35 years ago. She is a passionate advocate for the rights of all victims/survivors of violence. Heather has co-produced four books and fifty other publications, many of which are about understanding violence. Eight years ago, she started studying social work in relation to animals, such as animal-assisted therapy, the improvement of welfare for farmed animals, and animal companions caught up in violent households. Her ultimate mission is to have all animals’ needs recognised and taken seriously.
Fashion Designer & Researcher
Icaro Ibanez-Arricivita is passionate about beauty and aesthetics. If we all have three careers in life, he is in his second one, as a lecturer and researcher at QUT in Australia; his previous one was as a Fashion designer in Europe. Icaro is determined that his third career will be a trans-disciplinary one, allowing him to combine his two passions: science and creativity. Today, he is completing his PhD on the 'Aesthetics of Prosthetics', where he explores his sensibility towards Fashion Design as a powerful tool to design amazing-looking medical technology.
Project Coordinator (Digital Creative Agency)
Jennifer Haig is a fresh QUT graduate, having studied Media & Communication, Marketing, Creative Writing, and previously, Education & Developmental Psychology. When she’s not working as a project coordinator for a creative digital agency, she’s a published writer, researcher, and award-winning choir conductor. A passionate ‘life-long-learner’, you can usually find her binging Wikipedia articles or deep-diving into obscure video essays. She is also one of the 2.5% of Australian adults living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Laura Anderson is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland researching how to best empower young people to make healthy decisions regarding their sexual health behaviours. She values translating research into practical efforts, and hopes to develop a prevention program to reduce rates of STIs among young people. Laura is passionate about taking effective collective action on climate change, and also enjoys the small individual actions of composting and gardening.
Melanie Saward is a Meanjin-based writer and a proud descendent of the Bigambul and Wakka Wakka peoples. She has published work in journals and anthologies such as Kill Your Darlings and Overland, and received “highly commended” in the 2019 Calibre Essay Prize. At QUT, she is a sessional academic, the convenor at the National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network, and she hopes to have handed in her Master of Fine Arts thesis by the time she gives her TEDx talk.
Dr Michael Cowley is an astrophysicist and educator at the Queensland University of Technology and the University of Southern Queensland. His research – which involves cosmology, supermassive black holes, and the formation and evolution of galaxies – has taken him around the world and resulted in numerous publications in leading international scientific journals. As an advocate for STEMM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, & Medicine), Michael enjoys the challenge of taking complex topics and making them accessible to all audiences.
Information Technology Student
Stephen Kamal moved to Australia in 2006 at the age of 16. Having lived in Uganda as a refugee for more than a decade after escaping the civil war in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains, today Stephen is a father, husband, and final-year Bachelor of Information Systems student at QUT. He is drawn to people and loves to use his knowledge and experience to enlighten, inspire, and motivate people while simultaneously having others question their own experiences, beliefs, doubts, and perceptions of refugees and migrants. Stephen hopes to open a youth not-for-profit organisation and orphanage to give back to the community.
Dr Tania McMahon enables people to recognise and overcome the obstacles that get in the way of living their best life. She urges us all to think critically about how our modern-day habits and vices impact on our psychological wellbeing. Ultimately, she wants everybody to live rich, meaningful and balanced lives.
Turki Alkaladi is currently a Third-year Law student at QUT. At the end of his first-year studies, he decided to challenge himself and purse his passions. He is currently the Vice-President for the United Nations Society at QUT. Turki also helped the growth of the QUT Red Cross society, and organised last year’s IHL seminar ‘The Threats Nuclear Weapons Pose to the World’. He was determined to further pursue his ambitions and was successful in becoming a Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Community Speaker Volunteer Member. In his time off he enjoys swimming, playing social sports, and volunteering his time to causes close to his heart.