Athena SWAN Lead

Implementation of the Athena SWAN program is led by Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton, School of Optometry and Vision Science, Faculty of Medicine. Fiona is supported by a Self-Assessment Team (SAT), comprising UNSW academic and professional staff; together they will oversee delivery of the Athena SWAN program.

“In my term as Academic Lead of the UNSW Athena SWAN initiative, with the SAT, I would like to explore the success measures of the Action plan during the COVID-19 period to understand the impact on academic and professional staff initiatives. I am very enthusiastic about working closely with the key EDI representatives across the University and externally to identify new opportunities and respond to the existing priorities. I anticipate that the next two years will require building on the already impressive work undertaken by the SAT to prepare for the next award.” Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton

Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton

Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton, School of Optometry and Vision Science

Fiona was awarded her PhD from City University and Moorfields Eye Hospital in London undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at University College London. She moved to Australia and was the first female Head of School of Optometry and Vision Science in Australia and New Zealand (2007-2019). She is currently Scientia Professor at UNSW, Associate Dean (Enterprise) Faculty of Science (2018-2021).

A pre-eminent scientist and clinician, Fiona has been committed to the mentoring and development of women in STEM throughout her career and leadership roles. With an enthusiastic and effective commitment to gender equity and advocacy she has implemented strategies for the support of women at work and has personally mentored dozens of female HDR students, postdoctoral fellows and academic staff.

See profile


Past Athena SWAN Academic Leads

Art, Design & Architecture


UNSW Canberra at ADFA


Law & Justice

Mehere San Roque is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law & Justice. She has a background in feminist analysis of law and legal processes, with current research and teaching focused on evidence law and the criminal trial. She has been a longstanding member of the Faculty EDI Committee and chaired the Committee in 2020. She is currently on the Steering Committee of UNSW's Women's Wellbeing Academy.

Medicine & Health


Martina Stenzel studied chemistry at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, before completing her PhD in 1999 at the Institute of Applied Macromolecular Chemistry, University of Stuttgart, Germany. She started as a postdoctoral fellow at UNSW in 1999 and is now a Scientia Professor in the School of Chemistry at UNSW as well as an ARC Laureate Fellow. Her research interest is focused on the synthesis of functional nanoparticles for drug delivery applications. Her team is working closely with medical researchers and together they develop new nanoparticles to improve the treatment of cancer. She is the editor in chief of Materials Horizons and currently serves on a range of editorial boards. She received a range of awards including the 2011 Le Fèvre Memorial Prize of the Australian Academy of Science.

Technical Officer

After finishing her PhD and doing research in medicinal chemistry, Dr Ruth Thomas decided to use her passion and experience in a more education-oriented way. As a technical officer in the teaching laboratories in the School of Chemistry, she gets the opportunity to work with students and educational staff – ensuring they have everything they need, and that safety is being maintained. Ruth is a keen cook (originally from India) and would love to stay within the field of Chemistry – developing her own leadership skills and guiding future students.

Undergraduate students

Vacant: Please contact the Athena SWAN Program Manager to express your interest