Past IWD Scholarship Winners


Sarah Lawlor


NAWIC is delighted to announce the 2020 International Women’s Day (IWD) Scholarship has been awarded to Sarah Lawlor, Registered Senior Architect at fjmt studio, for her timely and relevant research proposal Is Climate Leadership in the Construction Industry ‘Women’s Business’?

Over the next 10 - 11 months, Sarah will undertake research that will focus on studying and quantifying the representation of women in environmental leadership positions in the construction industry, to ensure women are included and represented in environmental decision-making. Through her research, Sarah will share the work of female environmental leaders with the aim to build awareness of their achievements and to highlight the value of women’s contributions to the climate crisis issue.

Sarah said she was thrilled to be the recipient of the scholarship. “I am incredibly grateful that NAWIC and CULT have provided me the opportunity to explore this nexus of women and environmental leadership in the construction industry.  I am certainly hoping that this research will further NAWIC’s vision for an equitable construction industry in which women fully participate, and lead the way for a sustainable future.  I look forward to reporting back in a years’ time.”



Dr. Fiona Lamari

NAWIC is delighted to announce the 2019 NAWIC International Women's Day Scholarship has been awarded to Fiona Lamari, Lecturer in Construction Project Management at Queensland University of Technology.

Fiona’s research proposal titled ‘Engagement with Regional School Students through Virtual Construction Site Tour ‐ an Immersive Experience’ aims to promote the exciting and diverse careers in the construction industry to female high school students through virtual reality. Fiona's research will enable students to step onto a construction site and experience a high-rise building being developed. Fiona’s study will also measure the effectiveness of virtual reality as an engagement strategy for regional female high‐school students.

Download full report here


Dr Phillippa Carnemolla        

NAWIC is delighted to announce the 2018 NAWIC International Women's Day Scholarship has been awarded to industrial designer, researcher  and design educator, Dr Philippa Carnemolla. 

Phillippa's research will examine at high school girls’ opinions and perceptions of the construction industry and trades. It will also investigate their parents’ perceptions to understand the role they play in girls’ career choices. Recommendations from the research results will enable NAWIC, and broader construction networks, to better engage with school-aged girls and communicate the potential for a construction career for women.


Download full report here


Sara Prendergast

NAWIC is pleased to announce the winner of the 2017 International Women's Day Scholarship is Sara Prendergast.

Sara will research the ways in which companies can build an operational workforce to open pathways for women to have greater representation in the construction industry with a particular focus on civil construction. Sara’s final report will be available for International Women’s Day 2018. 

Download full report here


Natalie Galea

RIGID, NARROW AND INFORMAL: Shifting the gender imbalance in construction

The construction industry is Australia’s third largest employer and a central economic player in the Australian economy. Despite this, construction remains unyielding as Australia’s most male dominated industry.

NAWIC and leading construction companies recognise that by maintaining the gender status quo in construction, the industry is denying itself of valuable talent and undermining its existing workforce.

To date, initiatives aimed at shifting constructions gender imbalance have been generic in approach and focused on women and individual agency. This report finds that:

  • Rigid work practices, narrow career pathways and informal talent management operate across the career landscape in construction to undermine women’s participation and success in the sector.

  • The same practices also couple to undermine the enjoyment, health, and wellbeing of all construction professionals – men and women. 

  • An acceptance of sexism exists in construction that undermines women’s enjoyment, success and attraction.

The construction industry needs to change to attract women and maintain good talent.

  • Existing construction practices need to be analysed and challenged and leaders need to take ownership of gender diversity.

  • Construction projects need to be planned, resourced and managed with employee wellbeing in mind.

  • No tolerance to sexism must be adopted by all bodies operating in construction – clients, industry bodies, contractors, union and workforce.

Download full report here


Michaela Sheahan

Melbourne-based researcher, Michaela Sheahan, was awarded the 2014 NAWIC IWD Scholarship.  Her report which won her the award WalkTalkWork, was very insightful. Ms Sheahan’s research will investigate “Care, Connectivity, Collaboration: Urban design for interaction in hospital precincts – an international perspective.” The judges were impressed with the scope of Ms Sheahan’s research, which intends to examine how leading hospital precincts in the world are designing connections within and between institutions to enable collaboration, innovation and activity. 


Rana Abboud

Sydney-based architect Rana Abboud, was awarded the scholarship to investigate how architects can apply Augmented Reality to facilitate better design, construction and maintenance.
“The scholarship has allowed me to meet with cutting-edge researchers globally, and connect with industry professionals in Australia who share an interest in Augmented Reality. Through it, I have gained new contacts, new ideas, and new experiences that will feed back into my future work. The scholarship has increased my profile within my practice, and allowed me to pursue a research interest that would otherwise have proven difficult,” Rana says.

Architecture in an Age of Augmented Reality: AR’s Affordances for Design Visualisation, Construction Supervision and Post-Completion Maintenance



Laila Mehrpour

Laila Mehrpour, Development Manager at Lend Lease, undertook research on the viability of high density urban planning for Sydney, and whether the ‘Copenhagenisation’ of Sydney was a feasible part of the city’s development future.

Download The Great Australian Dream: Density and Aspirations in Sydney: A global assessment of the relevance of aspirations in influencing spatial planning in cities.


Natalie Myatt

Regional Asset Manager at Stockland, Natalie Myatt aimed to provide the Australian construction industry with a set of guidelines to help implement social sustainability policies.

The Challenge: Linking Social Sustainability and Financial Value


Melonie Bayl-Smith

Sydney architect Melonie Bayl-Smith investigated whether changes in foundational and continuing education in building technologies has resulted in distinct disparities between learning opportunities offered by architectural schools across Australia.

Download BuildAbility: the future of construction education


Ruth Kestermann

Ruth Kestermann, Senior Consultant at ARUP, aimed to generate ideas on how the industry can improve both the physical and social sustainability of new affordable housing developments.  

Download The Sustainability of Affordable Housing in Australia –Lessons Learnt from Studies in Brazil


Fiona Shewring

Painter and decorator Fiona Shewring travelled to the United States to conduct research into the avenues and support mechanisms for women to enter non-traditional trades.

Download The Future's Rosie: Initiatives and Pathways for Tradeswomen in the United States of America - an Australian Perspective


Proud Supporters of
The NAWIC IWD Scholarship