Ruwangi Fernando

Founder and Director
STEM Sisters
Co-founder and Director
Sessional Lecturer
Victoria University

Melbourne, VIC

Contact me for

  • Mentoring
  • Sitting on boards or committees
  • Providing an expert opinion
  • Outreach activities
  • Conference presenting
  • Opportunities to collaborate


Dr Ruwangi Fernando is an Information Technology specialist with experience in broader IT technologies, including Artificial Intelligence. She holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from Victoria University, a master in Strategic IT from The University of Wolverhampton, UK, another master in Human Resources and a bachelor's degree in IT  from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Having worked as an international academic in Sri Lanka, the UK, and Australia and a consultant for top-tier companies internationally, she is now a changemaker for Women of colour in STEM and advocating for an intersectional approach to diversity and inclusion in the Australian STEM sector. 

Dr Fernando completed her PhD at Victoria University in collaboration with Data61, CSIRO and the Department of Transport in Victoria. She has received many accolades for her research, including the winner of Three Minute Thesis and Visualising Thesis, which focused on how computer algorithms can predict and plan for traffic disruptions caused by major events, such as football games or concerts. She received the 2021 Victoria University Postgraduate Student Spirit Award and was a finalist for the Victorian International Research Student of the Year 2021 award for her exceptional leadership skills. 

Dr Fernando founded STEM Sisters, the first organisation dedicated to empowering women of Colour in STEM, delivering seven award-winning structured programs, events, workshops and advocacy campaigns. She was recognised for her efforts and awarded STEM Women Changemaker by the Australian Academy of Science, Victorian Lead Scientist, Pro Bono Australia and Women's Agenda. She was also awarded Asian Australian Game Changer Award in 2022 by the Asia Society Australia. Under her leadership, STEM Sisters won many awards, including the 2022 Techdiversity Business award, Victorian International excellence award 2022, and multicultural excellence award 2022 and recognitions from Hon Minister Pulford and Victorian Chief Scientist Dr Amanda Caples.   Since March 2022, Dr Fernando is also the co-founder of iSTEM Co. research, consulting and talent-sourcing company whose core objective is to enable the employment of women of colour and women from CALD backgrounds in Australia’s STEM organisations. To date, iSTEM Co. won BETA Pre-Accelerator Award and the Impact Award by Lift Women and is a finalist for the Women in Digital awards in November 2022.

Dr Fernando is a born leader, academic, researcher, consultant, entrepreneur, AI specialist, and speaker. She is devoted to advocating for diversity and inclusion in STEM and the importance of intersectionality.


Ruwangi identifies as culturally and linguistically diverse.