For her work in the space industry, Naomi Mathers has won the 2014 Women in Industry Excellence in Engineering Award.
Mathers was an advocate for the space industry in Australia at a time when there was minimal activity, and very little government interest, in the sector.
She completed her degree in Aerospace Engineering and chose to engage the international space industry from Australia and concentrate her efforts on growing opportunities domestically.
Mathers has distinguished herself by working across the differing domains within the space industry including government, defence, research and academia, and has demonstrated the ability to understand the needs of each domain and facilitate projects that benefit all partners and grow the sector as whole.
These projects include Australia joining the International Space Education Board where Mathers represented her country from 2009-2012. During this time, Mathers worked with heads of education to promote opportunities in Australia. Through the ISEB, Australia gained access to the NASA Academy Program and Mathers established the VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize.
Aiming to create a sustainable Australian space industry, Mathers also led the preparation of the successful bid for a Space and Spatial Industry Innovation Precinct. The bid was supported by 95 organisations, and the precinct, to be built in Canberra, will facilitate connections across industry, government, research and education.
Mathers was also instrumental in establishing the Kibo-ABC initiative, and as the Australian representative on the Space Utilisation Working Group, she facilitated access to the International Space Station (ISS) for Asia-Pacific countries. To date, three Australian experiments have been conducted on the ISS.
Mentoring others is also important to Mathers who established a summer internship program for undergraduates.
Not forgetting the business community, Mathers also worked with the Industry Capability Network to co-ordinate a national roadshow to brief Australian industry on opportunities associated with the Giant Magellan Telescope project.
Mathers is a member of the Space Industry Innovation Council and is Vice-Chair of the International Astronautical Federation’s Space Education and Outreach Program
“Naomi's commitment and passion for building Australia's profile in the spatial industry on an international scale is outstanding,” the judges said.
“She has truly engaged all facets of Australian industry and research to build our Spatial and Astronomical presence on a global scale.”
Mathers said Australia’s space industry has massive potential and her job is to “connect the dots” between researchers, industry and policy makers to ensure growth can flourish in the sector.
Mathers said career highlights include representing Australia internationally and showing that the country has a lot to offer in space technology innovations.
“We need advocates, we need people to start telling the hidden stories of Australia’s space industry," she said.
Mathers said she would love to see more Australian hardware flown in space.
Excellence in Engineering Award proudly sponsored by Direct Automation