Over 29 – 31 July we sent a group of students to attend the Hopper Down Under conference in Brisbane. The conference is aimed at empowering women technologists of all levels in the Asia-Pacific region. We asked our students to reflect on their experience.
Lauren Nelson-Lee - Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
“The Hopper Down Under conference was an amazing experience and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to attend. As a woman and a student in engineering and computer science, it was inspiring to be around so many women technologists who have achieved such amazing things; I gained plenty of new role models and had the opportunity to connect with incredible people.
I gained new skills and insights through attending the different workshops and talks, from creating 'eTextile' story pages for blind and vision impaired children to learning about the effectiveness of women-only classes in computer science courses for improving retention rates.
After attending the conference, I now feel more motivated to take part in programs which encourage women and girls to enter into STEM careers as well as those which assist women who are currently in these fields, as I have an improved understanding of the different ways in which I can play a role in this. Overall the conference had a big impact on me and I would love to continue to attend in the years to come.”
Liam Highmore - Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
“The conference was amazing! I have never been surrounded by so many women doing amazing things in technology - for once, us guys were the minority, it was fantastic to see. Hopper Down Under had a huge range of presentations from gyroscopic biped robots to young women investing in cryptocurrencies.
There were useful workshops, thought-provoking panel sessions and life coaching presentations. I thought Hopper Down Under was a perfect balance between celebrating all the amazing things that women have achieved in technology and also looking into the future to ensure that we have diversity in technology.”
Priya Guha - Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Commerce
“From as long as I can remember, women have always been a minority in my engineering classes. When I walk into a tutorial I’m lucky to spot more than 3 other females in the room and even luckier to have a female lecturer/tutor. Being in a room with more than 800 women in technology at the Hopper Down Under celebration was bizarre at first but incredibly empowering.
The women I heard from shared their research from all sorts of fields like deep learning, big data, robotics to just name a few and each presentation seemed to get better than the last. Hopper Down Under is a powerful reminder as to why diversity is so important in technology and being in a room where women are a majority is an experience I’ll always treasure.”
Sarah Callinan - Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Business Administration
“The Hopper Down Under Celebration was advertised as an event that would connect women technologists from all walks of life - and it undoubtedly delivered! In a world where we can connect with almost anyone in the planet at the touch of a button, it still is so valuable to engage with people in person. I was able to network with truly amazing people and learn from their journeys, whether they had been in the industry for 30 years or still in high school! Hopper Down Under was a truly brilliant experience and I would attend again in a heartbeat!
I left Hopper Down Under with a renewed passion to pursue a career in STEM and clearer idea of how I can get where I want to be. Being surrounded by brilliant people making real change in the tech world was genuinely inspiring and
As well as learning more about equity in STEM, I was able to gain insight into a variety of exciting technologies within block chain and data analytics. It has become clear to me that we are on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally change society, so a career in tech won't just allow you to change technology; you'll be changing the world. The fact is that if we want technology to be a bigger part of everyone's lives, we need to have greater diversity amongst the people who build it.”