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Kira’s packing her bags for the UK after winning prestigious scholarship


Novocastrian Kira McGrath is packing her bags for the United Kingdom after winning the 2023 Woman Leader in STEM Scholarship.

The manager – manufacturing technology at Orica Australia received the latest honour from Chemistry Australia and Chief Executive Women (CEW), who’ve partnered up to offer the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to undertake unique management curriculum at Oxford University.

The inspirational mother-of-four actively supports other females in her workplace.

Kira McGrath.

Kira also boasts extensive experience with ammonia, nitric acid and ammonium nitrate manufacturing processes specific to Orica’s Kooragang Island facility. 

She’ll now travel to the UK to attend the Women Transforming Leadership Program at the prestigious educational institution.

“I’m still pinching myself,” Kira said.

“I am extremely excited and humbled to be awarded the chance to participate in the initiative.”

Kira started working for Orica after graduating from the University of Newcastle (UoN) as a Chemical Engineer in 2008.

Her breadth of knowledge encompasses process engineering, process safety, continuous improvement/lean manufacturing, and management roles.

“This scholarship will give me the opportunity to further my passion for building a more equitable future for women in STEM at all levels of an organisation through avocation, mentoring and sponsorship,” she said.

“Taking part in the Women Transforming Leadership Program at Oxford’s Saïd Business School will help me develop and strengthen my skills while broadening my network internationally across sectors with successful and driven women.

 “Once I return, I plan to build on the experience and forge a stronger presence of female leaders in manufacturing.”

Joining forces with the CEW is a recent measure of the Chemistry Australia board to advance the careers of women, foster diversity and sponsor rising talent in the industry.  

The scholarship program complements its Emerging Leaders Advisory Council, which was established in late 2021 to advise the executive on future strategic opportunities, risks and initiatives to support the growth and future sustainability of the sector.

Chemistry Australia CEO Samantha Read praised Kira on her success.

“With her commitment to driving diversity and creating opportunities for other young women, she’s a commendable recipient of the Woman Leader in STEM scholarship,” she said.

“Kira really impressed with her energy and resolve to create a path for other women to follow into manufacturing.

“She’s well-placed to take the learnings from her participation in the Women Transforming Leadership Program at Oxford back into the workplace.

“We hope her achievements inspire other women to seek new opportunities in STEM and the Australian chemistry industry, too.”

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