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 has a strong history of advocating for gender equity in STEM, especially in addressing the intersectional challenges women of colour (WOC) face in STEM. She was recognised for her efforts and awarded a STEM Women Changemaker by the Australian Academy of Science, Melbourne Asian Game Changer 2022 award by Asia Society and Victorian Multicultural Honour Roll in 2023. Dr Fernando founded STEM Sisters, a pioneer organisation that empowers STEM women of colour. She spearheads six award-winning programs to break down systemic barriers and promote equal access to opportunities in STEM for WOC. Under her leadership, STEM Sisters won many awards, including the Techdiversity Business (2023) and Media (2023) Awards, the Victorian International Education Excellence Award 2022, the Multicultural Excellence Award 2022 and the WISE grant from the Department of Industry, Science and Resources.

She is also the founder of iSTEM Co., a research, consulting and talent-sourcing company that enables employment for women in STEM, including WOC and CALD. iSTEM Co. was
nominated as a finalist for the Women in Digital awards and has recently launched DEIR, a
recruitment-tech platform that eliminates recruitment bias for women in STEM. DEIR has also received recognition in STEM and won the Lift Women Social Impact Award and Burning Heroes Australia Award for Equity In Innovation.

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.