Women in Geotechnics: Challenges and Opportunities

Kathryn Jones, Melodie Moya, Michele Clark and Prof Guillermo Narsilio

The Australian Geomechanics Society is pleased to announce our first public event organised by the Women in Engineering (WiE) subcommittee of AGS Victoria Chapter. The event is coming soon in November and is entitled: “Women in Geotechnics: Challenges and Opportunities.

This panel-style event was inspired by our kick-off meeting in February 2023, where a handful of women geotech engineers from different industry sectors discussed some of the challenges and opportunities facing women in contracting, consulting and academia. During this session, some key topics were identified, which we aim to discuss at this event with our panelists and with the broader AGS community. We look forward to meeting you on November 14th.



Photograph of engineer Kathryn Jones

Kathryn Jones Geotech Practice Lead, Tetra Tech Coffey

Representing Consulting Sector

Kathryn has worked for Tetra Tech Coffey since 2006 and has been involved in a wide range of geotechnical projects across Australia and New Zealand. Kathryn is the Practice Leader for the Tetra Tech Coffey geotechnics business in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, and is an authorised technical reviewer.  Kathryn has been responsible for the design and implementation of geotechnical and environmental field programs for major infrastructure projects, working with clients and stakeholders to schedule works to minimise disruption and/or delays. She has been involved in geotechnical design for pavements, foundations and retention systems, and in the provision of advice regarding earthworks, temporary works design and construction. 

Melodie Moya Site Supervisor, John Holland

Representing Construction Sector

Melodie holds a Higher Technician Certificate in Civil Engineering and has been working in the construction industry for more than ten years, initially in France and later in Australia. In Australia, she has been involved with tunnelling and ground improvement, mainly as a site supervisor. “Whether it would be challenged by the geology of the ground or planning or budgeting, running a site is a bit like doing household management with a team that you can at times call family.”

Michele Clark A/Executive Director, Department of Families, Fairness and Housing

Representing Government Sector

Michele Clark currently holds the position of Director at the Office for Women in Victoria. In this capacity, she assumes the vital responsibility of spearheading the formulation and execution of gender equality policies and initiatives throughout the Victorian Government. Her role encompasses the implementation of significant reforms such as the newly introduced Victorian Gender Equality Strategy, Our Equal State, and the incorporation of Gender Responsive Budgeting practices into core Government processes. Michele has worked with public entities, private industry, unions and the community sector to further outcomes from women and girls across Victoria. She is passionate about challenging gender stereotypes and increasing the representation of women in leadership and traditionally male-dominated industries.

Prof Guillermo Narsilio Deputy Head, Infrastructure Engineering Department, The University of Melbourne

Representing Academic Sector

Prof Guillermo Narsilio is Deputy Head (Research) of the Department of Infrastructure Engineering and Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at The University of Melbourne, and a former Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow, former member of the ARC College of Experts, and past Chair of the Australian Geomechanics Society (Vic). He is currently the Chair of the ISSMGE Technical Committee 308 on Energy Geotechnics, a founding Director of the Charity AREEA (Australasian Renewable Earth Energy Association) and founder of Fourth Element Energy Pty Ltd (4EE). He received his PhD in Geotechnical Engineering (2006) and his Masters in Mathematics (2006) and in Geotechnical Engineering (2003) from Georgia Institute of Technology (USA). He obtained his Summa cum laude Civil Engineering degree from the National University of Cordoba (Argentina) in 2001. He is the proud father of two beautiful daughters and he stands for gender diversity at every forum.

Panel Discussion Topics

Challenges and opportunities for:

  1. Attracting females into the geo-profession to increase gender-diversity (Supply)? 
  2. Retaining female engineers in the geo-profession (Retention)?
  3. Increasing female engineers visibility and representation in impact/leadership within the geo-profession (Leadership and Impact)?

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship opportunities are available, please see the sponsorship page or contact Mike Shackleton via [email protected], for details.

Support the WiE subcommittee

In addition, the WiE subcommittee is looking for members interested in taking an active role in promotion and support of WiE. If you are interested, please contact Negin Yousefpour via [email protected]


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