Our bi-monthly WITWA Techtrails STEM Newsletter is out with a great overview of recent events and incursions delivered, plus more in the pipeline. Significant updates include:
- The release of a new STEM Skill Strategy for WA
- Techtrails STEM incursion success at Duncraig Senior High School
- Our next WITWA event on Portfolio Careers set for 20 June
- Snapshot of our recent Data Science Week event
- Showcasing a great short video interview about Space, Micro-Satellites & WA
If you did not receive your copy CLICK HERE to access our Newsletters and make sure you subscribe for future editions.
Thank you to our Techtrails Sponsors:
Opened by WiTWA’s Pia Turcinov and Bankwest’s GM of Everyday Banking, Lousie Vegar, we saw more than 100 Women in Technology WA (WiTWA) members and friends gathered in Bankwest’s beautiful outdoor courtyard for networking, drinks and the best party pies ever as we waited to hear from four esteemed and delightfully different panellists in the field.
Teresa Harding from Bankwest, Chris Nelson from CSIRO's Data61, and Elizabeth Antoine from Microsoft were facilitated by Andy Lamb from Startup Grind and Diana Adorno from WiTWA and ThoughtWorks. The topic? The age-old question: Data - good, bad or indifferent?
The session was presented in an entirely accessible and inclusive manner to a mixed audience heralding from a variety of backgrounds. Whilst I can safely say no-one in the room last night was indifferent to the value of data and the myriad of ways it is being used, there were certainly some people that were more vocal in the Q&A session than others on the various degrees of evil it represents. ‘When data goes bad’ quickly became the secondary theme to the evening.
In summary Chris Nelson’s view was that as long as corporates are driving data collection and third party use for profit in the market, their intention is not likely to be aligned with the greater good. Andy (King of Disrupters) Lamb agreed that clever tech has a place in our modern society and said, “the future is bright and data is certainly part of it”. Theresa Harding summed it up with; “Kids of the future will be unconscious consumers of the world around them. Their data and behaviour in the public sphere will profile them within an inch of their lives”.
We canvassed the opt-out for data collection services too. For example that message that pops up asking permission to drop cookies on your desktop when you peruse a new site, and the geotech data that tracks your every move when your mobile is in your pocket, allowing restaurants to offer you specials when you’re in the neighbourhood, or your phone to predict your driving patterns so when you jump in the car at 5pm on a Friday it can inform you that the traffic is heavy and it will take you 22 minutes to get home.
And Google’s recent example of the newly announced feature called Google Duplex was also cited for debate (good, bad or indifferent?). It uses artificial intelligence technology to generate a natural-sounding voice assistant, able to make a phone call on a user’s behalf, hold a conversation, and book a restaurant reservation or hair appointment without you needing to even pick up the phone. Other than pranking and inappropriate calls, the security industry and the individual concerned with ethics and privacy will need to consider the downsides of this new tech.
Artificial intelligence expert Hussein Abbass of the UNSW Canberra told the media; …"AI Duplex collects people’s voice signatures to continue training the robot and even its own voice seems to be a synthesis of one or more human voices. (People) need to be aware how their data gets used and they need to offer explicit consent for the collection of the data and for the intended use of the data”.
The next event will be a TechXchange gathering on Disruption and the Rise of Portfolio Careers, featuring Melissa Langdon from Bossmama, Josh Richards, our resident and much loved Mars One Astronaut candidate, and Shona Rowan, Peak Performance Specialist and Ballroom Dancing Champion.
More details can be found on the WiTWA website.
Women in Technology (WiTWA) recently packed Spacecubed to the proverbial rafters while hosting a panel of top-notch local female role models in the tech and innovation ecosystem.
This event is one of several in the popular boardroom series, which WiTWA run to support its mission to promote diversity and equality in WA. The level of interest and quality of questions were testament to two points worth highlighting:
- The rise and rise of Perth as an ideas hub with top talent, and
- The appetite for women to lift the bar through contributing to diverse teams and business agendas.
We are thankful to all the role models on the panel who kindly gave their time to share their stories and inspire.
We look forward to seeing you all at our next shindig to celebrate International Womens Day in conjunction with the Australian Computer Society (ACS) at the Hyatt Regency. Please see the WiTWA website for more details and to register. http://www.witwa.org.au/events/
Here are the highlights from the panel:
- Even though things are slowly improving, there is still a definite lack of female role models in the tech sector.
- We need to stop competing against other women and instead work together to help and encourage each other to get ahead. The old ‘leave the ladder down’ approach for female colleagues is a good place to start.
- We may need to reconsider what a role model looks like - a tech role model may actually be younger than you and not fit the stereotype you once imagined.
- If you cant find a role model within your organisation, you need to network and look outside your organisation for inspiring role models. It may not be a ‘one size fits all’ but instead you may find several role models useful for different aspects of your development.
- Being stubborn, and resilience were key themes the panel members shared, which had enabled them to get to where they are today....doing the things that people said that they couldn’t do, and using this to drive themselves forward to achieve even greater things.
Nominations for the 2018 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are opening on 21 February 2018! Do you know or work with a humble science hero, promising early- or mid-career researcher or someone forging their way along the innovation trail that you would like to see celebrated on the national stage? Help them get the recognition they deserve by nominating them for the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science.
Past recipients include Professor Jenny Graves AO for her pioneering investigations of the genetics of sex, and Associate Professor Kerrie Wilson for her work optimising the global allocation of scarce conservation resources. This year the Prize for New Innovators has also been amended to better acknowledge Australia’s innovators for their contributions.
Original text published by www.business.gov.au.
Future of work. How WiTWA is inspiring and supporting young people make decisions about jobs for their future. A visual celebration of WiTWA's community engagement and signature schools program, techtrails.
On October 31, 2017, the first techtrails for Teachers STEM & Future Skills Event which aimed to inspire, connect and demystify the jobs of the future for our educators was run at John Curtin College in Fremantle. This event was attended by school principals, deputy principals, teachers, careers counsellors and educators.
WiTWA’s techtrails incursions program is designed to generate passion, excitement and interest in technology and science based careers to motivate secondary students to explore and pursue related study and career opportunities. Acknowledging the declining numbers of students choosing technology, science and engineering career paths, WiTWA has been able to excite and inspire in excess of 2,000 WA students to increase their awareness and participation in STEM as a career option whilst broadening their knowledge of and participation in the innovation system as a whole since it’s inception in 2011.
Thanks to Australian Government grant funding and industry partners, WiTWA is able to supplement the techtrails STEM incursion program with techtrails for teachers events in October and November 2017. This techtrails for teachers events was specifically designed to enable teachers, careers advisors and educators to hear from and network with a range of technology and entrepreneurial STEM professionals, showcasing a current industry perspective and tangible examples of the application of STEM skills in future proofing our next generation.
To make this event such a success, our thanks go to:
- Prof Lyn Beazley, Patron of WiTWA
- Anitra Robertson, Surgical RealitiesJessica Baldwin & Jennifer Davies, Kinetic IT
- Susan Kreemer Pickford Engineers Australia (WA)
- Erica Haddon, RAC
- Swati Sharma & Kate Langdale, British Telecom at Fiona Stanley Hospital and
- the wonderful teams at The Institute for Professional Learning and
- John Curtin Secondary College.
They say that laughter can cure a multitude of ills. It is also the mark of a great leader. So we could not help but admire Mr Saeed Amin, Principal of Broome Senior High School, whose parting leadership gift to the current year 12 cohort was an "impromptu" dance performance to Beyonce's hit song Put a Ring on It. We had the pleasure of collaborating with Mr Amin and his wonderful team when we took our WiTWA techtrails STEM incursion to Broome at the end of 2016.
Watch his dance moves here - it's trending! We are sure Mr Amin's moves will be remembered by the graduating students for years' to come. It will make you smile, we promise!
On 17 October, the WiTWA team brought our techtrails STEM & Future Skills Incursion to Ocean Reef SHS (www.oceanreef.wa.edu.au), where we presented to 150+ year 9 students from Ocean Reef SHS and Belridge Secondary College. For this incursion we had another fantastic and inspirational group of STEM professionals, industry experts and entrepreneurs meet the students and share their stories and experiences.
Thank you to all who made this event possible, and especially to our generous group of STEM professionals for making themselves available and agreeing to share their personal techtrail stories to inspire the next generation:
- Lakshini Weerasekera, Harry Perkin Institute for Medical Research
- Alex Hickling, WA Museum
- Nikki Foster & Para O'Kelly, Thoughtworks
- Hilary Goh, Mine Vision Systems
- Kirsten Flint, Scitech
- Jessica Kemp, Shell Australia
- Ellie Sansom, Desert Fireball Network
- Trevor Dunstan, Kinetic IT
The students from both schools were an absolutely pleasure to meet and all staff involved made the occasion a seamless and fun day. Our special thanks to Karon Brooks, Principal of Ocean Reef SHS, Maggie Glover, VET and Workplace Learning Coordinator Ocean Reef SHS, Warren Smith, Deputy Principal Ocean Reef SHS, as well as John Burke, Principal Belridge Secondary College and Liz Cassidy, Technology and Enterprise, Belridge Secondary College.
We would also like to acknowledge the support provided by the Australian Government enabling us to deliver techtrails to over thousands of secondary school students in WA throughout 2017. Take a look at some of the photos capturing the event by visiting our stories page at www.techtrails.org.au/blog.
The government has just released Australia's National Science Statement with a vision of setting a long‑term approach to science, providing guidance for government investment and decision making and clarity on strategic aims.
"The Australian government has established Innovation and Science Australia as an independent statutory body with responsibility for providing strategic whole‑of‑government advice on all science, research and innovation matters. The government tasked Innovation and Science Australia to review the performance of the innovation, science and research system and to develop a strategic plan for the period from now to 2030—called the 2030 Strategic Plan—with recommendations for government, which is expected to be completed in 2017.
In this context, the National Science Statement sets out the government's enduring science objectives and principles. It also positions the government to respond to the science elements of the 2030 Strategic Plan in a considered and targeted manner. The Statement will continue to provide guidance for the government's other science‑related policies and initiatives into the future."
Thank you Kya Graves, Principal and the wonderful teaching staff at Warnbro Community College for hosting our 7th WITWA techtrails STEM incursion for the year. We were joined by Professor Lyn Beazley, Patron of WITWA for our opening session, with Darren Lomman from Bloom Labs as one of our STEM role models who presented to the year 9 students.
As many in our network will have realised by now, we unfortunately recently had to bid Taryn Musgrave goodbye as she relocated herself and her wonderful family to beautiful Canada on the other side of the globe. Pursuing new ventures will no doubt create fantastic opportunities for them, but for us here at WiTWA it was a sad occasion to say goodbye to our fabulous Committee member.
Taryn was instrumental in broadening our WiTWA networks and adding further diversity in thinking to our conversations. During her time on the WITWA Committee Taryn created some powerful new networking initiatives, including what have now become our very popular bi-monthly Cheeky Sparrow Meetups, as well as our dynamic TECHXchange program. Having been responsible for organising and coordinating many interesting and informative sessions, Taryn's legacy will hopefully continue to thrive as both these initiatives grow. We know that feedback from our WITWA members has been thoroughly positive! In her role as WITWA Treasurer, Taryn also added her broad knowledge of tech solutions into the mix, enabling further growth and streamlining many of our internal processes.
We would like to thank Taryn for the two years of dedication and hard work she spent advocating for women in technology since joining the WITWA committee in mid-2015. Taryn, we wish you all the best for the future and your Canadian adventures!
Au Revoir & Best Wishes from all of us here at WiTWA.
The WiTWA Techtrails STEM school incursion program is only possible as a result of the many wonderful STEM professionals who volunteer their time to present and talk to our Techtrails students. All do so taking time out of their busy schedules, but always seemingly with a smile on their face. Lucy Hammond, founder of local edu-tech start-up Diversifly VR and initiator of many other interesting projects, was one of our recent Techtrails presenters to Butler College in Perth's northern suburbs.
Following her visit, Diversifly VR wrote a short blog about the experience. "Lucie spoke on her less traditional journey to STEM. Her message to students came from both personal and professional experience, and a combination of her time spent within corporates, as a ‘working mother’ and as a consultant running Women in Leadership programs before embarking on Diversifly’s mission to train super-humans for the future of work using virtual reality." To read the full blog click here. Thank you Lucy and Diversifly VR for sharing your passion and experience with the next generation!
Limited tickets still available!
There still are a handful of tickets available to our next TECHXchange @the Cheeky Sparrow on July 19. This is your chance to consider whether your LinkedIn profile is in need of an update. Are you using your profile to your advantage? Is it written in a relevant way to your career now? How do you craft a profile that will make a great first impression, create visibility and enable you to leverage connectivity?
Come along and hear Jo Saunders of Wildfire Social Marketing address these questions and offer a handful of meaningful tips for using LinkedIn. Look out for Jo’s upcoming book ‘Get Good or Get Off - A guide to getting it right on social media.’ Discover more about Jo before the evening @https://au.linkedin.com/in/josaunders.
Do you have an idea or innovation that could become a high growth business? The Curtin Ignition Program is run by the Curtin Centre for Entrepreneurship and is based on the successful Ignite program managed and delivered by the University of Cambridge Judge Business School’s Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL).
Ignition is a five and a half day intensive program which prepares you for taking your idea to the business world. The experience includes a blend of practical teaching sessions, expert clinics, mentor sessions and experienced advice and support from leading entrepreneurs and innovators. To find out more and see if you may fit the scholarship criteria simply contact Danelle Cross, Director of the Centre of Entrepreneurship at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are multiple categories for scholarships, so don't be shy and don't presume that you are not ready. Too often we miss out on opportunities because we don't take a chance! This may be your time to get that idea off the ground. Click here to find out more.
According to last year's Gender Scan, Women represent on average 30% of all STEM graduates in the world. That means there is a lot of room for improvement! To ensure that women equally contribute to tomorrow's innovations, please consider participating in the International GenderScan 2017 Survey. Your opinion (all genders are encouraged to participate), can make a huge difference for building up awareness of top decision makers, and make further progress.
Complete the survey at http://genderscan.org/. If we have more than 150 WITWA referrals to the survey we will receive free extraction of benchmarking data for us to share with all! Simply add Women in Technology WA in the survey when prompted. Results of last year's survey date can be found here. Thank you!
Women & Leadership Australia is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across Australia’s resources and engineering sector. The initiative is providing women with grants of between $3,000 and $8,000 to enable participation in a range of leadership development programs.
The leadership development programs are part-time and delivered nationally. Scholarship funding is strictly limited and has to be allocated prior to the end of this financial year (June 30). Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form prior to June 16, 2017: http://www.wla.edu.au/assoc-june17.html
Our third WiTWA techtrail STEM School incursion for the year saw us visit John Curtin College of the Arts in Fremantle on 3 May. Last year the school won the WA Secondary School of the Year Award in the WA Education Awards, as well as taking out the Governor’s School STEM Award for Leadership Excellence in a Secondary School. To add to students' thinking around the importance of STEM and how STEM skills are applied in industry and a wide variety of professions, we showcased a fantastic group of STEM professionals as part of our techtrails incursion.
The morning started off with a very special guest opening our presentations - Ms Rachel Cooke, Consul General of the United States of America. Hers is a story that proves how STEM skills can indeed take you down many wonderful and exciting roads. With a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and Master degrees in Environmental Management and Public Policy from Indiana University, Rachel's career has seen her work for the Environmental Protection Agency and for NASA. She later joined the Foreign Service and at one stage was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand teaching fish farming. Rachel certainly held the students' attention with her story of self discovery and ongoing professional curiosity.
Our pod groups then rotated throughout the morning for the opportunity to meet and hear from each of our other fabulous speakers:
- Ms Rachael Zeme, from the Tumour Immunology Group, National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases at UWA Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. Rachel is an Alumni of John Curtin College of the Arts and it is where she first discovered her love for science, particularly in the area of biology. Planning to pursue her passion, she went to study biological sciences at university, when something else caught her eye - biomedical science. A whole new world of how disease develops and progresses; and better yet, what we can do about it opened up to Rachael. This is where she discovered her interest in studying the immune system.
- Darren Lomman Executive Officer, Bloom / Managing Director, Green Batch / Director of Youth Innovation, St Catherine College. Darren shared his story from building motorcycles for people in wheelchairs to his latest social enterprise - MY PET Project turning recycled PET plastic into 3D printer filament enabling any school with a 3D printer to turn themselves into a micro-recycling plant. Darren has won a whole swag of awards including WA Young Australian of the Year, WA Citizen of the Year, and recently was named by the United Nation’s JCI at one of the Top 10 Most Outstanding Young People of the World.
- Dr Brenda Lai who shared her journey from first discovering Photoshop when she was 13, and spending countless and sleepless nights working on art projects throughout high school, to now being the co-founder of Feedmee App. Feedmee is Australia’s latest restaurant discovery app, with a mission to help fight hunger and homeless issues in Australia. The app was launched in September 2016. Since then, it has ranked top 30 on iTunes Free Food and Drink category across Australia.
- Dennis Savic, CEO of DESAV Design. Having grown up in Perth, Dennis knew from a young age he wanted to design and build his own vehicles. So he finished school, went to university, and started working on his vision once he finished his Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering. Having initially thought he’d never study again, he soon realised that he would need to learn a lot more to build an entirely new industry in Western Australia.
- Jessica Baldwin, Kinetic IT. Jessica completed a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Human Resources and Tourism Management and got her first job working as a recruiter in the Mining and Construction Sector. After nearly four years in this sector she decided it was time to gather some new experiences and seek work in a new industry which landed her the opportunity to work at Kinetic IT and get immersed in the technology world.
- Peter Yorke, Kinetic IT. Peter has an interest in all things hacking, security and digital forensics and in his spare time is completing his Master’s Degree in Cyber Security. He started his career in technology with Kinetic IT but a few years later he decided to take a career change and followed his childhood dream to become a Police Officer. He worked in various police stations throughout Perth and in the country before joining WA Police’s Technology Crime squad as a Police Sergeant. Peter loved the security and incident response side of IT so much that after ten years he decided to go back to Kinetic IT in an IT security focused role.
- Dylan Pratt, Computer Systems Engineer from Surgical Realities. Dylan has always been fascinated by technology and grew up pulling apart computers and making games. Dylan has a Bach in Science from UWA as well as a degree in Computer Systems Engineering from Curtin. Dylan now works with Surgical Realities where he focuses on research and development of virtual reality, augmented reality and rehabilitation technologies in the health industry. A typical day can range from testing technologies during a live surgical procedure to playing with robots and designing new software for a virtual immersion.
- Ms Libby Howlett, Chief Environmental Advisor, Quadrant Energy. After completing her first science degree, Libby volunteered her time and then got paid to assist others in studying marine fish, worms and other sea creatures on the Great Barrier Reef. She found her passion and continued working in marine research at the Australian Museum and University of Sydney whilst completing a Master of Science Degree in Marine Ecology. Today after 18 years in the oil and gas industry, Libby now holds the position of Chief Environment Advisor for Quadrant Energy and is able to influence and strive for better environmental outcomes from human use of the ocean.
- Gary Cass, Creative Scientist. Gary is based in Perth and has been a key creative collaborator with many international arts and sciences projects; including Fermented Fashion, the first dresses in the world made from wine and beer. Gary believes that “creativity is as important as literacy and numeracy.” His collaborative projects have been exhibited around the world including; a fringe event at the Venice Biennale and Documenta Germany; Trinity College Science Gallery, Ireland; Signature Art Prize in Singapore; and ArtStays Slovenia. His newest project, iDNAtity audio – making music from your genes!
Thank you to all of our speakers, sponsors and volunteers for bringing another techtrail STEM incursion to life in WA! To see what the school thought about the day and some photos of how techtrails unfolded, take a peek below and also have a look at the John Curtin College of the Arts newsletter article the school published online.