Outstanding high school mathematicians were recognised yesterday with the presentation of the UNSW Canberra Prize for the Best Female Students in Mathematics. The prize, supported by Northrop Grumman Australia, is in its third year.
The Year 8 and 9 recipients, who have been nominated by their schools, are the top female maths students in their year.
UNSW Canberra Rector Professor Michael Frater said the annual award aims to address the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and encourage more young women to pursue STEM studies at a tertiary level.
Professor Frater, who is also an electrical engineer, said there are many opportunities for students who excel at maths.
“An often-asked question I hear is: ‘How important is mathematics? When would I need to use this in real life?” Professor Frater said. “But maths is at the centre of almost everything we do, and it is used to solve real-world problems. A good example of this is UNSW Canberra’s Bushfire Dynamics Team who are developing mathematical models to predict the behaviour of bushfires.
“This could ultimately equip our emergency services with better information to plan their movements, saving property, wildlife and even lives – this is just one example of where maths can take you.”
The Maths Prize is aligned with UNSW Canberra’s goal of a 50 per cent female enrolment rate in undergraduate engineering degrees.
The prize winners will be presented with $250, along with the award. These students will also be eligible for $5,000 towards their degree should they choose to enrol in a Bachelor of Engineering degree as a civilian student at UNSW Canberra.
The award ceremony, held prior to International Women’s Day, is supported by Northrop Grumman Australia. With their support, UNSW Canberra has been able to recognise the achievements of over 300 young women who are excelling in mathematics.
“Northrop Grumman has been a proud supporter of the UNSW Canberra Prize for the Best Female Students in Mathematics since 2018,” Chris Deeble, Country Executive, Northrop Grumman Australia said to ADM. “This award is part of a range of activities Northrop Grumman is undertaking as part of International Women’s Day aimed at promoting an inclusive, gender diverse workplace.
“At Northrop Grumman we know that having a diverse team is fundamental for producing innovative solutions for our customers. To have diverse teams you need gender diversity, that’s why we encourage smart and committed young women to make the exciting choice to pursue a career in a STEM-related field.
“We know that subject choices made early in Year 10 can have a lasting impact on a young woman’s career trajectory and we want to encourage them to take math courses that are so often prerequisites to a successful STEM career.
“This prize supports that objective by saying to Year 8 and Year 9 students that their performance is recognised and valued. That there’s a need for talented women with mathematics skills across a range of important STEM careers at companies like Northrop Grumman; and that we want to encourage their journey along the STEM career path.”