Technology Advisory Board Member @ Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc.
University of Melbourne
Marita Cheng is the 2012 Young Australian of the Year. She received the award for demonstrating vision and leadership well beyond her years as the Founder and Executive Director of Robogals Global. Noticing the low number of girls in her engineering classes at the University of Melbourne, Marita rounded up her fellow engineering peers and they went
Marita Cheng is the 2012 Young Australian of the Year. She received the award for demonstrating vision and leadership well beyond her years as the Founder and Executive Director of Robogals Global. Noticing the low number of girls in her engineering classes at the University of Melbourne, Marita rounded up her fellow engineering peers and they went to schools to teach girls robotics, as a way to encourage girls into engineering. While on academic exchange at Imperial College London, Marita expanded the group to London and then throughout Australia, the UK, the USA and Japan. In just 4 years, Robogals has grown to 17 chapters, and taught over 10,000 girls robotics.
Robogals was internationally recognised in 2011 as a leading youth social initiative through the International Youth Foundation YouthActionNet Fellowship and as a leading programme for encouraging young women into engineering and technology careers through an Anita Borg Institute Change Agent Award. Marita has also been awarded the prestigious Nancy Fairfax Churchill Fellowship, been recognised as one of the top achievers under the age of 30 by the Sandbox Network, and one of the 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young people in the World by Youth Service America, as well as many more awards back home in Australia. Marita serves as a Board Member for the Foundation for Young Australians. She has also been a panelist on the New Inventors on ABC TV (episode aired 16 March 2011).
Marita has a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics) / Bachelor of Computer Science from the University of Melbourne. She is currently working on a hardware startup and regularly travels around the country delivering speeches.
Marita is available for public speaking opportunities through the Saxton Speakers Bureau.
Specialties: robotics, building communities, problem solving, pitching skills, public speaking, marketing, advertising, events management
New Enterprise Investment Fund (NEIF) Board Member @ Australia's first investment fund focused on funding and mentoring student-led ventures. From November 2014 to Present (1 year 2 months) Founder @ 2Mar Robotics makes robotic arms for people with limited upper mobility. From April 2013 to Present (2 years 9 months) Melbourne, AustraliaFounder and Board Member @ Founded Robogals Global in 2008. Description below under other heading.
Now sit on the Board and mentor my successor, the Robogals Global CEO. From December 2012 to Present (3 years 1 month) Board Member @ The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) is a national, independent, non-profit organisation dedicated solely to young people.
FYA provides a national platform of respect and opportunity for the best ideas and actions that young Australians have to offer. In 2011, FYA launched its five-year strategy and vision for change. We believe that all young people have the courage, imagination and will to shape their education and create social change. From March 2012 to Present (3 years 10 months) Founder and Executive Director @ I'm the director of a non-profit called Robogals, which has 17 chapters in 4 countries. Our aims are to increase the number of girls studying science, engineering and technology disciplines at a tertiary level, and to provide leadership opportunities for female engineering students.
- We train university students in robotics and then send them to primary schools to teach primary school girls.
- We speak at high schools to let girls know about possible career paths.
- We hold community events to raise awareness.
- We hold a yearly conference in each of our regions to foster a Robogals community.
Current projects include:
- Robogals Rural and Regional programme, which brings our cause to rural and regional areas using female engineering students in those areas to raise awareness. (launched March 2011)
- Robogals Science Challenge, an online science fair with heaps of great prizes. http://www.sciencechallenge.com.au/ (launched July 2011)
Past events held:
Largest Robot Dance Guinness World Record Attempt (Melbourne Sep 2009)
Science and Engineering Expo (Melbourne Aug 2010)
The Robots Are Coming art exhibition (Sydney Sep 2010)
Robogals Girls in Robotics Day (Brisbane Sep, Dec 2010)
As well, we have participated in Sci-Tech Science Awareness Week (Mar 2010, Mar 2011, May 2011) and the Women in Mining Forum (May 2010) in Kalgoorlie and Geraldton, Western Australia.
Robogals Bootcamp (Melbourne Sep-Oct 2009)
Robogals Bootcamp UK (London Apr 2010)
Robogals Asia Pacific Conference 2010 (Sydney Sep 2010)
Robogals SINE EU/UK 2011 (Manchester Feb 2011)
Robogals SINE AU/NZ 2011 (Adelaide Sep 2011)
Robogals SINE UK 2012 (Bristol Jan 2012)
Robogals SINE USA 2012 (Pasadena Feb 2012)
Robogals SINE Asia Pacific 2012 (Brisbane Sep 2012)
Robogals SINE UK 2013 (Manchester Feb 2013)
Robogals SINE USA 2013 (Pasadena & New York City Mar 2013) (I attended in Pasadena) From July 2008 to December 2012 (4 years 6 months) Radio Announcer @ I co-host a radio show about entrepreneurship, in particularly to encourage young people to start up their own companies or organisations. Each week, we interview a different young entrepreneur to share their story and their challenges with starting up enterprises at such an early age.
In season 1, we were called, "It's Business Time". Now in our second season, we have renamed ourselves to "Screw it, just do it!". Become a fan on Facebook to receive all our latest updates, or listen to our podcasts! http://syn.org.au/program/screwit From April 2010 to October 2010 (7 months) Founder and Curator @ Female entrepreneurs of Melbourne meet for breakfast once a month with a guest female entrepreneur speaker to get inspired and to network! From September 2009 to August 2010 (1 year) Co-founder and Sales Director @ Nudge is an automated SMS and phone call reminder service for patients taking prescription medication. The service is sold in the pharmacy alongside the medication purchase. I created this business together with two of my university colleagues, initially as an entry in the Melbourne University Entrepreneurs Challenge, in which we won the undergraduates section among a field of 15 entries. We developed the software and got it up and running as a trial in five Melbourne pharmacies across various demographics - Camberwell, Moonee Ponds, Parkville, Caulfield and Cranbourne. Unfortunately, after trying various different ways to market and sell the service to end users at the pharmacy, we weren't able to get enough interest to make the business viable and closed about a year after the system went live. From December 2007 to August 2010 (2 years 9 months) Founder and Engineer @ Undergraduates robot-building community. Began at the University of Melbourne. Currently still in operation at Imperial College London. From March 2008 to July 2009 (1 year 5 months)
Graduate Studies Program, Funded by Google @ Singularity University | NASA AMES Research Park From 2015 to 2015 BE, Engineering (Mechatronics)/ Computer Science @ University of Melbourne From 2007 to 2013 Erasmus, ME Mechanical Engineering @ Imperial College London From 2008 to 2009 Marita Cheng is skilled in: Collaborative Problem Solving, Start-ups, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Community Building, Event Management, Social Media, Robotics, Small Business Marketing, Public Speaking, Media Outreach, Non-profits, Cause Marketing, Social Media Integration, Cultural Diversity