A former Young Australian of the Year who founded a program to get more girls involved in engineering has been recognised with an international award.
Marita Cheng beat out about 20 candidates from 12 countries to take out the Airbus and Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC) Diversity Award at the World Engineering Education Forum.
Her organisation, Robogals Global, hopes to inspire 10 to 14 year old girls to become more interested in engineering and technical related careers through workshops, training, student activities and an ambassador program.
Airbus noted Robogals had grown from a single university chapter six years ago to become an international organisation.
“Robogals has so far reached over 20,000 girls worldwide, utilising a largely volunteer workforce of university students,” Airbus said in a statement.
Airbus executive vice president of engineering Charles Champion said Cheng impressed the selection committee with her initiative and “also inspired us with her understanding that the best way to increase diversity is by creating a clear roadmap for others to follow”.
Cheng, who was named Young Australian of the Year in 2012 and holds Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics) and Bachelor of Computer Science qualifications from the University of Melbourne, also took home US$10,000 as part of the award.
More information about Robogals can be found on the organisation’s website.