Research on the Record: meet Carolyn Oldham

10/01/2024 | 2 mins

After 30 years with the School of Engineering, Professor Carolyn Oldham was welcomed by The University of Western Australia as an Emeritus Professor.

During that time, her career in environmental engineering has covered a diverse range of projects, including her pioneering research into Western Australia’s wetlands that helped unravel the significance of the important ecosystems, creating innovative water management solutions for the State’s urban design and development, and her most recent work to better understand and solve issues around mine closures and mine-water.

As a dedicated advocate and mentor for women in academia Professor Oldham also chaired the UWA Leadership Development for Women Planning Group and was the project lead for the University’s SAGE Athena Swan initiative.

Speaking to Research on the Record, the highly cited academic reflects on her legacy and recounts some of the experiences that helped shape her passion for sustainability, such as learning a new appreciation of the value of water while living on a farm in the Himalayas, where she had to carry her own drinking water.

She reveals what it was like coming to UWA as the University’s first “affirmative action” hire; the only woman among 81 male colleagues in her field, and being at the forefront of changing that environment for future women academics.

Professor Oldham also shares what she has learned about the importance of crossing boundaries within scientific research, as she contemplates the many opportunities that still lie ahead in her retirement.

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