As part of the UNSW Women in Engineering Awards, the university has awarded the Ada Lovelace Medal* for Outstanding Woman Engineer to EA Honorary Fellow, Professor Judy Raper, a chemical engineer with expertise in air and water pollution control.
Professor Raper is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at the University of Wollongong, following a career in education and management at the universities of Newcastle, Sydney and UNSW. According to UNSW, Professor Raper helped "revolutionise undergraduate engineering programs". She has also worked extensively in the USA and UK.
Professor Mark Hoffman, UNSW’s Dean of Engineering, acknowledged Professor Raper as an outstanding member of the profession and a great example to women engineers.
“Judy is a chemical engineer who’s built an impressive career in traditionally male-dominated arenas over the past of 40 years. She’s an inspiration to us all, but especially young women. She shows that engineering is a discipline that can take you anywhere.”
Professor Raper was one of three women recognised at the annual awards, which are part of a concerted effort by UNSW, having the largest engineering faculty in Australia, to attract more women to the profession.
Specifically for UNSW alumni, the Judy Raper Award for Leadership was awarded to senior environmental engineer, Marika Calfas, who is the Chief Executive of NSW Ports. The Maria Skyllas-Kazacos Young Professional Award for Outstanding Achievement was awarded to Alexandra Boulgakov, a senior electronic design engineer at Tesla.
Since 2013, UNSW has boosted the number of women starting first-year engineering at UNSW by 78% and more than quadrupled the number of girls (now over 100) attending its annual Women in Engineering Summer Camp – for female students in Years 11 and 12.
The university revealed it has offered almost 60 Women in engineering scholarships in the last five years. Professor Hoffman, Dean of Engineering since 2015, set a goal to raise female representation among students, staff and researchers to 30% by 2020. In this year’s intake, 27% of undergraduate engineering students were female (versus the Australian average of 17%). In industry, UNSW said only about 13% of engineers are female.
* The annual Ada Lovelace Medal is named for Augusta Ada Byron, later Countess Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician who worked on Charles Babbage’s revolutionary mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. According to UNSW, her remarkable notes on the engine in the 1840s include what is recognised today as the first computer algorithm, making her the world’s first computer programmer.
IMAGE: Professor Mark Hoffman with Professor Judy Raper. Source: UNSW.