Maddi Miller – Following Ancestors and Caring for Country at UniMelb

Maddison Miller thinks the future of STEM is exciting and the changing world is creating new career pathways – some that we might not even be able to imagine just yet.

After doing a degree in archaeology and following her enduring passion of caring for and working on Country, Maddi is now leading research in the School of Ecosystems and Forest Sciences that combines her love of humanities while also sitting firmly within the heart of science.

“Through my studies, I have always been interested in questions of how our ancestors have maintained the oldest continuing culture in the world and how we manage and care for Country.”

“Forest management, caring for Country, and the deep understanding of ecosystems is all embedded within cultural practice. My research at the University of Melbourne lets me explore these cultural and ecological connections, just as our ancestors did.”

A career in science can sometimes seem a daunting and unattainable path, says Maddi.

“From a distance STEM might seem unachievable but it’s something our ancestors have always done – they were the first scientists and engineers – and science shows how to look for solutions for healthy Country and healthy communities.”

Maddi believes it is important to have opportunities and pathway programs that support and foster positive and potentially lifelong friendships and professional relationships.

“When I look back at my study and work as a graduate intern, that cohort has followed me through life, and we still lean on each other. Building a support network early is really important.”

When asked about advice for future students, Maddi’s response was simple – but powerful: “You have to see it to be it.”

“Having role models is really important, but what’s equally important is being able to identify gaps and step up. If you don’t have a role model or if there are no footsteps before you to follow – make them.”

Maddi is part of the Faculty of Science at the University of Melbourne. At the Faculty of Science, we’re supporting talented young Indigenous Australians like Maddi to become leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

See what we’re doing to make the University of Melbourne a more inclusive place for Indigenous Australians, and check out opportunities for you.

Maddi Miller