Changing the face of STEM

29 Apr 2022

Inspired by her experience studying engineering, alumna Kim Jackson wanted to support promising female-identifying engineering students at ANU who, like her, hail from a regional area.

 "When you look at female representation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), the numbers paint a fairly bleak picture," says Kim Jackson, founder of Skip Capital.

"When I was at ANU, we had less than 10 per cent women in our engineering class, and even now I think it is just between 20 and 30 per cent. And if engineering at university was heavily male dominated, the same was true of my time in investment banking and funds management.

"I want to support the dreams of female students who have the smarts, but not necessarily the means. Their challenges are the same ones that I faced. And I hope to give them the opportunities afforded to me by studying engineering at ANU.

"The University has a multidisciplinary systems approach to engineering, which I believe is so important today," says Kim.

Ella Lord, the inaugural recipient of the Kim Jackson Scholarship, had wanted to study at ANU ever since she visited the campus with a STEM camp more than five years ago. The scholarship enabled Ella to move from her hometown of Cambridge, Tasmania, to study a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Science double degree at ANU.    

"Starting a male-dominated degree at a university where you don't know many people is scary," Ella says. "It helps a lot to know that I am at the university that best suits me, which I wouldn't have been able to do without the scholarship." 

After receiving so many worthy applications for the Kim Jackson Scholarship, the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science was inspired to award three additional scholarships. These scholarships run alongside an established diversity and inclusion portfolio, and grass roots initiatives to foster inclusion, such as the Fifty50 mentoring program and the Gender Equity in Engineering and Computer Science program. 

The Engineering Advantage Scholarship, created to support women who were also considered worthy candidates for the Kim Jackson Scholarship, was awarded to Kayleigh Sleath, Dechen Clarke and Josie Bates.

"These young women really remind me of the start of my journey - how exciting and scary it was to arrive in Canberra from a small town," says Kim Jackson. 

"Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, full of enthusiasm, ready to take on the world! I cannot wait to see what they achieve in the years ahead.

 "Australia needs more female leaders, entrepreneurs, and visionaries. To do this, we need more female students studying technology, and creating and managing the technology of the future."

Thanks to the Kim Jackson Scholarship, more women are being supported to follow their passion for engineering and achieving success in their studies and careers. 

Alumni like Kim Jackson epitomise the high calibre of ANU engineering and STEM graduates, with donations to the Kim Jackson Scholarship key to supporting equal opportunity in the field of engineering.

This impact story is a feature in the 2021 Report to Donors

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