Vera Thiess Fellowship for Women

Vera Thiess Fellowship for Women

The International RiverFoundation’s Vera Thiess Fellowship for Women sought to give women from developing countries the opportunity to gain valuable professional experience through the IRF and its partners, with the goal of advancing women’s participation in water and river management.

Through the Fellowship, we honour Vera Thiess’ legacy by supporting women’s involvement in river basin and water management. We also acknowledge the inspirational role of the Thiess family, whose story began with five brothers who started a small earthmoving business that then grew into a globally respected establishment that overcame hardship, broke boundaries and forged new ground.

Fellowship History

First awarded in 2016, the International RiverFoundation’s Vera Thiess Fellowship for Women gave women from developing countries the opportunity to gain valuable professional experience through the IRF and its partners. This fellowship not only went towards supporting the selected candidate for a 12 month research project, but also towards continuing the important work of bridging the gap in women’s participation in river basin management.

Special thanks

Awarded in the name of the late Vera Thiess, a long-time supporter of the IRF, the Fellowship recognises Vera’s and the Thiess family’s long-time philanthropic support and commitment to forward-looking initiatives of the International RiverFoundation. Read more about the late Vera Thiess here.

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  • Qing Ye

    Qing Ye grew up in Southern China around the ZhuJiang river basin, this led to her developing a keen interest in sustainable river management. Qing Ye recently graduated with a Master of International Economics and Finance Management, having also completed a Bachelor of Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management at the University of Queensland.

  • Carmina Rivera

    Carmina grew up in a small town south of Metro Manila in the Philippines. Carmina has a bachelor’s degree in Economics. Carmina started her career as a Project Associate in a human capital and organisational development consulting firm that helped her engage with a wide array of private and public organisations. After a couple of years, Carmina briefly worked as a Research Assistant under the Urban Development and Water Division of the Asian Development Bank – Viet Nam Resident Mission. Her work was mainly focused on conducting preliminary economic analyses for water supply and wastewater projects located at the Mekong Delta. Fuelled by her desire to pursue a meaningful path towards creating a positive impact to the environment and communities, Carmina pursued further studies and recently completed a master’s degree in Integrated Water Management at the University of Queensland, Australia. She seeks to expand her career in the water sector through her interests in sustainable development, policy and governance, and alternative financing for water supply and sanitation.

  • Charity Mundava

    Charity has a combined background in natural and geo-spatial sciences. She is passionate about the sustainable management of our planet. She works with WaterNSW as a spatial scientist in the water industry providing advice for projects relating to water quality and catchment management. Previous to this role, Charity worked for Curtin University, Perth with the Photogrammetry unit and also the Remote Sensing Laboratry at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Over the years, Charity has been the recipient of various awards, including research scholarships, travel grants, student citation awards and industry scholarships for her excellence in the field of spatial sciences.

  • Suparana Katyaini

    The International RiverFoundation awarded the inaugural Vera Thiess Fellowship for Women to Suparana Katyaini, a final-year PhD candidate at IIT Guwahati.

    Suparana formally received the award at the Riverprize Gala Dinner held in New Delhi in conjunction with the 19th International Riversymposium.

    ‘I am very excited to receive the first Vera Thiess Fellowship to advance women’s participation in water and river management,’ Suparana said.

    ‘It gives me a great opportunity to bring out ‘women’s voices’ in the ongoing dialogues on Transboundary Rivers for a sustainable future.’

    Suparana’s work has focused largely on bridging the gap between science and policy, and has particularly emphasised the role of women in governing transboundary rivers. She used her Fellowship year to contribute to water literacy by focusing on women’s voices in water governance of the Brahmaputra River in South Asia.

    In the following year, Suparana produced a report on the state of gender in water management worldwide, participated in dialogue on the Brahmaputra River, and worked with the Global Water Partnership and San Antonio River Basin Authority for valuable knowledge exchange activities. She presented the outcomes of her Fellowship at the 20th International Riversymposium in Brisbane, Australia in 2017.

  • Recipient: Marie Aislinn Cabriole

    The International RiverFoundation awarded the 2017 Vera Thiess Fellowship for Women to Marie Aislinn Cabriole of the Philippines.

    Marie Aislinn Cabriole currently works in the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Philippines, as its Operations Engineer, contributing to the country’s irrigation development by monitoring and evaluating the status of the region. Marie studied a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, and after graduating from university, she soon experienced the way female engineers were not given the same opportunities as their male counterparts.

    Through the Vera Thiess Fellowship, Marie wishes to empower women in the water sector by collaborating with the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC, Philippines) to strengthen the role of women in the rehabilitation and management of Pasig River. Activities will be focused on community involvement, gender mainstreaming, water leadership, and sustainable river/urban communities, and Marie will collaborate with several other Thiess International Riverprize finalists in Australia, the USA, UK and Europe, to learn more about successful river management projects.

  • Michael has over 30 years’ experience across the resources & industrial industries in Australia, Asia, Africa and the Americas. Prior to being appointed to the joint role of Executive Chair and CEO of Thiess, Michael was the CEO of ASX listed CIMIC Group, responsible for leading Sedgman, UGL, CPB Contractors, Leighton Asia and Thiess. He joined Thiess in 1998, starting as a Project Manager, and has held leadership and operational roles in the mining, construction and services sector, giving him expertise across operations, technical, commercial and strategy.

    Michael is a highly regarded and innovative leader focused on delivering value to clients and inspiring operational excellence by building strong, safe and performance-driven teams. He serves as a Director of the Minerals Council of Australia and the Sustainable Minerals Institute.

    He holds a Bachelor of Engineering Civil from the University of Sydney and a Master of Engineering Science from the University of New South Wales.