Dr Lindy Orthia SFHEA, BSc (Hons), GCertHist, PhD, is a senior lecturer in science communication at the Australian National University (ANU). She is also the Associate Director Science Education for her department, the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (CPAS).
Lindy first studied science as a mature aged student at La Trobe University, enrolling in 1998 and graduating as the top student in the La Trobe Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering in 2001. She moved to Canberra in 2002 to undertake honours studies in plant systematics, through the ANU but based at the Australian National Herbarium at the CSIRO, and won the ANU University Medal for her honours thesis (see Pultenaea and Mirbelieae related journal and conference papers 2003-09 in Publication list). She commenced a PhD in plant systematics in 2004 but found that she was more interested in the history of ideas in science and social discourses of science than in the nitty gritty of scientific analysis, so transferred her PhD to science communication in 2005. After a few false starts getting used to the new discipline, Lindy completed her PhD thesis in late 2009 on the topic ‘Doctor Who and the Democratisation of Science’, and was awarded her doctorate in 2010 (see Doctor Who related journal and conference papers and book in Publication list). She completed a Graduate Certificate in History in 2015. In 2016 she commenced an MPhil with the ANU School of History under the supervision of Dr Alex Cook, looking at public science discourse in the early Sydney colony.
Lindy has been working as a science communication academic since 2007, first as a tutor and research assistant, then as supervised course coordinator and sessional lecturer, and since 2010 as a lecturer and course convenor for three courses, two of which she wrote. She also supervises undergraduate and postgraduate research projects. She is committed to encouraging and supporting all students to publish their work, including undergraduates still enrolled in coursework.
In 2009 the excellence of her teaching was recognised when she won the inaugural ResearchFest Award for Excellence in Tutoring or Demonstrating, and in 2012 she won the Colleges of Science Award for Teaching Excellence. She used most of her $5000 prize money for the latter to establish five prizes for undergraduate science communication students. In 2013 Lindy won a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence and was awarded an ANU Commendation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning in recognition of her Colleges of Science teaching award. In 2014 she was recognised as a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK.
Her excellence as a researcher was recognised when she was invited to contribute an entry to the peer-reviewed Springer Encyclopedia of Science Education, and when in 2009 her chapter for a science communication textbook/reader was submitted to publisher Routledge for peer review, as the sample chapter for the ultimately successful book proposal. Lindy has many peer-reviewed publications to her name as well as non-peer-reviewed publications and presentations.
Prior to her focus on science communication, Lindy held researcher or research assistant positions with the ANU School of Botany and Zoology, the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, the Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research, Friends of the Earth Melbourne and the La Trobe University Students Representative Council.
Before enrolling in a BSc, Lindy spent the first ten years of her adult life as a community activist, working on diverse social justice and environmental campaigns, including the queer pride/sexuality awareness movement that was prominent throughout the 1990s, campaigns for Indigenous self determination including the Jabiluka campaign which also took a stand against uranium mining in Kakadu National Park, campaigns for student income support (Austudy) and against voluntary student unionism, and campaigning against violence against women. Once she commenced studies in science, Lindy worked on the Barmah-Millewa Campaign as ecological researcher (see reports section of Publication list). The campaign brought together Friends of the Earth Melbourne and the Yorta Yorta Nation to lobby for the Barmah-Millewa forest to be managed by its traditional owners (the Yorta Yorta) and conserved as a national park. The campaign achieved its final success after a decade long fight.
Lindy is a proud unionist and member of the NTEU.