QLD’s best female professionals recognised

The best and brightest women in engineering, science, mathematics and technology fields have been recognised at the Arrow Energy Best of the WEST ceremony.

Sponsored by the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), the awards showcased female achievement in areas that are typically male-dominated.

Go WEST (Go Women in Engineering Science and Technology) project leader Dr Petrea Redmond said she was very proud of the calibre of entrants, ranging from industry, business, school and university sectors.

“The awards are an opportunity for schools, business and industry to promote high-achieving females and their equity programs and provide role models of women who are or have the potential to be high-achievers,” Dr Petrea said.

Guest speakers included Jo Kirby, the chair of Women for Engineering Queensland and currently the ambassador and mentor program coordinator on the Power of Engineering Committee – a program for female students in Years 9 and 10 to experience the engineering industry first-hand.

“Ms Kirby was very dynamic and realistic about her journey,” Dr Redmond said.

“She was a great example of how challenges can arise but you have to move past them.”

This year marked the first industry sponsor – Arrow Energy – to get behind the awards, and to initiate the new Arrow Energy Brighter Futures Award category.

The Arrow Energy Brighter Futures Award, which was won by Maryborough resident Claire Barsby, aims to encourage women with children to return to study in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The inspirational Victoria Close – a 73-year-old legally blind student who overcame a challenging childhood to be awarded the Queensland Government Smart Futures PhD Scholarship in 2009 – won this year’s Indigenous award.

Dr Redmond said she anticipated the awards will return next year and is also planning a new project that will support mature age students returning to study in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

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