They’re not quite Archibald Prize winners, but Dr Foley was very impressed recently to receive a package of portraits of her from year 2 students at Burgmann Anglican School in the ACT.
The students had been learning in their science unit about the Earth’s resources as well as researching Australian scientists. This led to an investigation of the role of Australia’s Chief Scientist, including about Dr Foley’s work and early life.
“The children enjoyed learning about Dr Foley’s career and achievements,” says classroom teacher Suzanne Koberler.
“So much so that we decided to draw her portrait during our Creative Arts lesson. We hope Dr Foley enjoys looking at them as much as the children enjoyed making them.”
Ms Koberler said that the students were very surprised to learn that women have found it difficult to enter or make progress in the field of science.
“It was very pleasing to see that the boys were as big advocates for Dr Foley's work promoting women in science as the girls in the class.”
Dr Foley says it is rewarding that the boys were advocates for girls in science and hopes this is an indicator of the cultural change that is needed to achieve gender diversity in science.
She was delighted to receive the portraits, “… but it’s impossible to pick a favourite. Although I can relate to the blue face!”
“I have decided to mount them all on the office wall - not from vanity but to remind us all that the humanities are a key part of the scientific endeavour.”
“We need to ensure that we’re all aware of the impact of our science on the wider community, that we have the social licence to continue to explore our work.”
She says that looking up at the portraits every day will help to focus attention as she builds her work plan as Australia’s Chief Scientist.