Dr Therese Keane from Swinburne’s Department of Education and Social Sciences has been acknowledged by the #TechDiversity Awards for her work with Melbourne RoboCats.
#TechDiversity aims to increase participation of women and minority groups in the digital technology sector through conversation, collaboration and action.
Dr Keane was nominated in the category of education and was presented with a #TechDiversity Leader award at a celebration on 25 July 2016.
She is now in the running to be crowned the #TechDiversity Champion at a gala on 4 August.
The awards recognise individuals and groups who have demonstrated leadership and embraced inclusion by raising awareness and promoting diversity initiatives and programs.
“We are thrilled to have the work of Melbourne RoboCats recognised by the industry alliance, government and business,” Dr Keane says.
Melbourne RoboCats is an all-girl robotics team that competed in the international FIRST Robotics Competition.
Targeted at increasing secondary school girls’ participation in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), Melbourne RoboCats has provided an opportunity for girls without prior programming or robotics knowledge to work alongside industry and university mentors.
The team is self-funded to ensure that it is accessible to all girls, without any socio-economic barriers.
“In a digital economy, it is important to include all members of society. Engineering and technology careers do not attract large number of females, and diversity in a workplace is very important,” Dr Keane says.
“Providing young girls with positive experiences in the STEM subject areas is important so that they can see the applicability of the skills learnt and apply it to authentic real world problems.”
Dr Keane hopes this award will encourage more girls to join the RoboCats and get more industry and university mentors on board.
“I anticipate that by getting recognition, we can scale up and start a few more teams to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition.”