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Centre Chief Operating Officer Named as a “Superstar of STEM”

Science & Technology Australia (STA) has named Centre Chief Operating Officer Dr Sue Keay as one of its inaugural “Superstars of STEM”.

Dr Keay was one of only 30 women from around Australia selected from more than 300 applicants in the first year of this program.

Science & Technology Australia says the goal of the program is to help women learn how to speak about their science and inspire others to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“This program is vital to ensure that women participate and remain engaged in STEM,” says Dr Keay.

Dr Keay has been the Chief Operating Officer for the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision since it was created in 2014. As an Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence, the Centre brings together the disciplines of robotics and computer vision, with researchers working to create robots that see and understand their environment.

“There are very few women in technology. There are even fewer in robotics and computer vision. Yet, the opportunities to change the world in these fields is incredible,” says Dr Keay.

“I am highly motivated to raise the profile of technology, especially amongst women, to ensure that Australia is prepared for the significant changes that will soon engulf us. From robotic process automation to autonomous vehicles, things that were once in the realm of science fiction will soon become a reality.”

Recently, she developed a successful $1.5-million R&D project on humanoid robotics supported by the Queensland government to explore the vision capabilities of Softbank’s social robot, Pepper.

Science & Technology Australia says the “Superstars of STEM” program will also include a mentoring component. Participants will share their stories at local High Schools to ensure they are connecting with young Australian women interested in STEM.

“We want Australian girls to realise that there are some amazing, capable and impressive women working as scientists and technologists too, and that they work in and out of the lab in places you might not expect,” says Professor Emma Johnston, Science & Technology Australia President-Elect.

As a mother of two daughters, Dr Keay says she’s always felt a responsibility to make sure there are more STEM opportunities for young women.

“There were significant improvements in the workplace from my mother’s generation to my own, but I don’t see a similar amount of progress benefitting my daughters’ generation. This has to change, and I’m keen to be an active participant in changing things,” says Dr Keay.

The 30 women selected for the Superstars of STEM program will receive training and development to use social media, TV, radio and public speaking opportunities to help them talk about their science and to spread the word about the women in STEM.

Of the final 30, 8 are from Victoria, 8 from New South Wales, 5 from South Australia, 5 from Queensland, 2 from Tasmania and 2 from the Australian Capitol Territory.

Posted July 03, 2017

Australian Centre for Robotic Vision
2 George Street Brisbane, 4001
+61 7 3138 7549