Mehak Masood: A Pioneer for Environmental Change and Women’s Empowerment in Pakistan

Being a changemaker in environment and sustainability is in Mehak Masood’s DNA. Raised by her grandfather, a naturalist, and her father, an Environmental Engineer, Mehak developed a deep love and passion for minimising environmental impact and providing sustainable solutions.


A scientist from Pakistan, Mehak is passionate about the environment and women’s empowerment. With a strong desire to minimise environmental impacts in her country, she pursued a Bachelor of Environmental Sciences at Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore, where she was among the early graduates in Pakistan for this degree. 


Mehak’s father has been her biggest supporter throughout her journey, encouraging her to apply for an Australia Awards Scholarship. Mehak applied for an Australia Awards Scholarship in 2017 however, was disheartened to be placed on the waitlist. 


Shortly after, good news came through. Mehak received an email that a successful applicant pulled out, and the spot for an Australia Awards Scholarship was hers! Overjoyed, she immediately shared the news with her mother and called her father to celebrate. Mehak was selected to undertake a Master of Environment in climate change, sustainability, and environmental law at the University of Melbourne.


Mehak reflects her entire experience as seamless, from the visa process, pre-departure preparations, and settling in at the University. 


“The Student Coordinator for Australia Awards at the University of Melbourne was helpful and friendly; just before classes started, the university interviewed me and shared my story. Everyone knew me and my story before I started attending my classes.”    


“Every day, I was motivated! Starting each morning at the breakfast table at the Residential Graduate house, I would hear and have exciting conversations with talented people in different fields, including astrophysicists, agriculturalists, mathematicians, and various inspirational people. “


The Australia Awards Scholarship impacted Mehak academically, professionally, and personally. Outdoor experiences were gained, hiking and camping, volunteer work for events and conferences for the university and a new hobby commenced by taking a few makeup classes! Mehak was also invited as a guest speaker for climate change to more than 300 investors for multinational universal bank BNP Paribas, in Sydney.


Mehak now holds positions as the head of sustainability and head of Environment, Social and Governance at Artistic Milliners, one of the top industrial groups in Pakistan. Her future aspirations include deeper research into climate adaptation and gender in agriculture and promoting women’s empowerment and resilience.


Mehak emphasises the power and value of this Australia Awards Global Alumni network, having formed close connections with alumni working in similar fields and considers them to be lifelong friends.



Mehak advises prospective Australia Awards applicants to clearly articulate how their chosen field of study and future goals will contribute to their country. She encourages applicants to write from the heart and, once accepted, to embrace the transformative experience that awaits them as an Australia Awards Scholar.