Dr. Jenine Beekhuyzen – Tech Girls Movement
Go Girl Topic: Changing the world as a tech girl superhero
Dr. Jenine Beekhuyzen is a social entrepreneur who is changing the world. She is the Founder of the Tech Girls Movement (TGM), a non-profit to inspire girls into STEM careers, empowering school girls to build their own futures. The TGM is working to create a workforce capable of building the technology of the future. Dr. Beekhuyzen produced Tech Girls Are Superheroes (1 & 2) and Tech Girls are Chic! – free books which have received widespread success with 50 000 copies distributed to school girls across Australia. Her advocacy for girls and women in STEM is based on more than a decade of internationally peer-reviewed research, and she has won awards for Innovation in research and for her university teaching. Dr. Beekhuyzen is also the CEO of Adroit Research, and is the Queensland Authorised Trainer for QSR’s NVivo software.
What is the most awesome thing about having a career in tech for you?
Every day is different. I get bored easily so I enjoy some weeks in an exotic location overseas and then balancing that with working for weeks in my pjs at home. As an entrepreneur, consultant and researcher, I work with who I want, when I want, on what projects I want. Always looking for the next big challenge, I’m conscious to contribute as much back to humanity as possible along the way.
As a child, did you dream of a career in tech?
I was always good at solving problems; often breaking things so I could fix them. I was the first to pick up anything digital and was somewhat aware that technology would play an important role in my future. It came naturally to me. I loved the ability to control the computer and have fun with it.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve done, both personally and professionally?
I Met the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg in Europe in November 2015, and we gave her a light up superhero cape with wearable technologies “Tech Duchess” that she wore for media photos. She said she loved the Tech Girls Movement. It was a very surreal and super exciting 5 minutes on the other side of the world!.
Why are you passionate about diversity in technology?
Diversity means better decision making. It is necessary to have the needs and desires of all users represented in the technology we use every day. Diversity is not only about women, but about representation of all people in society. It results in many positive outcomes, it’s a no-brainer really.
What would your advice be to your 15 year old self?
Dream big and go for it. You are brave enough to do it.