Professor Meredith Nash

Professor and Associate Dean – Community in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at ANU.
Social Sciences,
Community Engagement,

Originally from Chicago, Meredith studied psychology and women’s studies as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois and studied abroad in her final year at the Australian National University.

Meredith’s time in Australia influenced her career direction and she returned following graduation to complete a Master and PhD in Gender Studies at the University of Melbourne.

During her postgraduate study, she spent six years making sense of the diverse reproductive experiences of Australian women. This qualitative work proved to be a confronting immersion in women’s reproductive lives and a personal lifeline. Hearing their experiences propelled her to finding her own voice and committing to research with direct social impact.

Meredith’s outstanding leadership and capacity to engage with multiple stakeholders has enabled her research to break new ground in addressing the depth and character of gender-based inequalities in Australia and internationally. Her work has been taken up by the United Nations and informed Australian government, industry, and community practices. Highlights include achieving pay equity in surfing competitions for women; improving antenatal education for first-time fathers; and new training for remote polar fieldworkers. Eighteen years of generative collaborations and research experiences fuel her current work which critiques gendered and racialised norms in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) academia and leadership.

Meredith is an award-winning leader in community engagement and generating research impact beyond academia - her scholarship has been highlighted more than 200+ times in the global media (e.g. BBC News, The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald) and, in 2019 alone, her research media coverage touched an international audience of 4.5 million+. She stars in the acclaimed 2020 documentary The Leadership, focused on leadership for women in STEMM.

Through her extensive media and community engagement work, Meredith cites the positive cascading effect of expanding one’s network and profile. Experiences like researching the first Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica in 2016 would not have been possible if she hadn’t given a TEDx talk in 2014. This experience was a career highlight and helped inform the future direction of her research in STEMM and, specifically, in polar studies.

Meredith has devoted much of her academic career to building supportive networks and environments for researchers – a gap she saw from her own PhD experience. Therefore, in addition to her academic qualifications, Meredith is an accredited organisational coach who specialises in working with academics. She is well-known in the academic community in Australia and abroad for providing expert coaching around strategic career-building, navigating first academic positions, building credibility and influence, creating a personal brand, time management, personal and organisational strategy mapping, and researcher visibility. Her coaching style is to ask questions that facilitate thinking, to listen actively, and to help researchers to reflect on individual challenges. Importantly, she has built her coaching reputation on her ability to create a safe, non-judgmental space for researchers to experiment with different ideas and views. Meredith holds up a mirror so that researchers can become more self-aware, critically reflective, and gain confidence in navigating challenges as they arise.

Meredith can provide expert consultation on issues related to social research and impact as well as a range of topics related to research productivity and strategy. As an expat researcher, Meredith also has unique insights around studying in different locations, moving abroad and building one’s reputation in a new environment.

In her own career, Meredith has valued the mentorship of strong women who have provided solidarity, friendship and advice. Meredith credits her mentors with providing the guidance and support to increase her research capacities, including how to influence senior leaders and amplify the voices of others.

Away from University life, you will often find Meredith enjoying time with her family or running up a mountain in the beautiful but chilly Tasmanian outdoors to train for her next ultra-trail run.