Shepherding Your Own PhD



IEEE ACT WIE Affinity Group Seminar

Abstract: Shepherding is about not only leading others but fostering the welfare of those you lead. But what about yourself and your own journey in navigating a PhD? Kate Yaxley will share her lessons learned during her PhD research with Sky Shepherds, including the importance of leading yourself and fostering your own welfare.

Speaker: Kate Yaxley, Squadron Leader, Sir Richard Williams Scholar at Royal Australian Air Force

Bio: Kate Yaxley has been recognised for her pioneering work in artificial intelligence as a finalist in the prestigious Women in AI awards 2021 for Australia and New Zealand. Kate is a Visiting Military Fellow at the School of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra, Australia. She received her bachelor and masters qualifications in electrical engineering from UNSW (2011) and the US Air Force Institute of Technology (2015). Kate commenced her doctorate with UNSW in 2018 with a focus on swarm systems, human-autonomy teaming, and artificial intelligence design philosophy. Currently, Kate is completing her PhD in artificial intelligence and is the 2021 Sir Richard Williams Scholar. Her research focuses on using an unmanned aerial vehicle to shepherd sheep and could be applied to a defence setting in areas such as network traffic response to an adversary, UAS swarm movement when enacting a commander's intent and humanitarian support when moving civilians. As a member of the ADF's community of practice to expand test and valuation methodology to introduce artificial intelligence and Ai-enabled autonomous systems, she has also been developing metrics for measuring cognitive competence. She regularly lectures and mentors students at UNSW Canberra and is looking forward to integrating her knowledge in an Ai-enabled Defence future.


All welcome

On behalf of Dr. Lily Qiao <>


This is the first episode of a new series of seminars organised by IEEE ACT WIE Affinity Group. In each episode, a local female academic or researcher is invited to share her own career stories and feelings. We believe their stories will inspire, motivate, and help you break barriers, set and achieve goals. We hope our IEEE ACT members, especially female student members, could join us and have a real-life discussion for thought.


  Date and Time




  • Date: 20 Apr 2021
  • Time: 07:00 PM to 08:00 PM
  • All times are Australia/NSW
  • Add_To_Calendar_icon Add Event to Calendar
  • Starts 16 April 2021 01:05 PM
  • Ends 20 April 2021 07:00 PM
  • All times are Australia/NSW
  • No Admission Charge