Climate change. Food security. Health and wellness. Complex challenges threaten the future of humanity, and call for novel solutions by scientists and institutions. As the Assistant Head (Academic) for the School of Life and Physical Sciences and the Chair of PSB Academy’s WSHE Committee, Kate Chen is at the nucleus of the Academy’s endeavours to contribute societal solutions. These efforts span from nurturing the next generation of biomedical and sport scientists to integrating environmental sustainability considerations across the Academy’s daily work.
Kate’s journey with PSB Academy began as a student in 2007, when she studied a biotechnology degree with the University of Western Australia. After graduating, she then took on a full-time laboratory technician role, with progressively greater responsibilities until the present day. Interestingly, while Kate recently celebrated her 10th year of dedicated service to our teaching and learning community, she previously worked in a testing facility as a laboratory technologist with a manufacturer of synthetic rubber, a floor manager with a large fast-food corporation and freelanced at a private training institution developing course materials. These past industry experiences have helped shape Kate’s systematic and meticulous approach to our Academy’s academic and operational processes.
Kate’s responsibilities for the School of Life and Physical Sciences include reviewing the academic progression of our students, providing academic advice and support, and helping students to better adapt to their learning journey upwards. She pays especial attention to weaker students who may need more help. Kate also has academic oversight over our life and sport science courses and academic administrative matters for the School. Tapping on her know-how in science laboratories, Kate also teaches some modules in our La Trobe University degree courses, imparting lab skills and equipping students to work in the life science sector.
As part of the School of Life and Physical Sciences’ emphasis on real-world work experiences, the School has a voluntary laboratory experience programme for life science degree students to intern as lab techs and 140 hours of supervised practicum for Edith Cowan University sport science students. The School and our Student Success Office further collaborate closely to arrange industry visits and conduct career preparation workshops, with Kate also providing career counselling and recommending internships at research institutions.
The WSHE Committee meets regularly every quarter to review the workplace safety, health and environmental needs for the Academy. This includes inspection checks, risk assessments and review of the measures we are taking to enhance environmental sustainability. PSB Academy is a socially responsible corporate citizen, and the WSHE Committee is vital in steering the organisation in the right direction. Kate firmly believes that safety starts with each individual, and that each of us need to be equipped with the knowledge and assume personal responsibility over our safety both at work and at home. The WSHE Committee will continue efforts to raise awareness and institute safety and sustainability at the heart of everything we do, while ensuring that students are also mindful of safety considerations during practical classes.
Kate enjoys learning new skills and reading. Recently, she took up an MBA with the University of Nottingham to enlarge her capacity to better understand diverse student perspectives and relate better to individual learners during academic consultations.
For more information, check out Kate’s biography: