Professor Judy Raper FTSE has been named Australia’s top female engineer, winning the prestigious Ada Lovelace Medal for Outstanding Woman Engineer – the third Fellow in consecutive years to do so.
With expertise in air and water pollution, and as a former senior official in the US National Science Foundation, the University of Wollongong chemical engineer has championed engineering and diversity throughout her career.
“I am thrilled to be recognised by my peers with this award, especially as it is named for Ada Lovelace who was a true innovator and a truly inspirational woman,” Professor Raper said.
“In terms of diversity, engineering has come a long way since I began my career in the 1980s, but we still have a long way to go. We have gone from six per cent of engineers being women then, to around 18 or 20 per cent now so there is still a lot of room for improvement, and we in the university sector have a big role to play in keeping up the momentum for change.
“For engineering, achieving greater diversity in all its forms is important not just because it is the right thing to do, but also because it will lead to greater innovation and to better solutions to the complex problems that the world faces.”
Professor Raper was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Wollongong in 2008, and prior, had a storied career in education and management at the universities of Newcastle, Sydney and UNSW, as well as the Missouri University of Science and Technology.
The Ada Lovelace Medal is a national award given annually by the University of NSW’s Faculty of Engineering. It’s 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.