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The future of women in business - technology

17 July 2017

As a recipient of Westpac’s Young Technologists Scholarship, engineering student Alicia Hastie has had opportunities of which 20-somethings can only dream: access to inspiring female role models in technology; industry events like the Women in Technology conference and Vogue Codes Summit; presenting and speaking events.

“The Tech industry isn’t stagnant; it’s constantly changing,” Alicia says of her studies in engineering at Sydney’s University of Technology.

“What I might be doing in the future might not even exist right now, which is really exciting. So, I’m just looking forward to where things take me and if there’s something out there that really interests me I’m going to take hold of it and see where it goes,” she says.

Empowerment and self-belief have been the greatest learnings for Alicia: “I feel like the scholarship has given me a lot more confidence in myself, and knowing the entire team at Westpac is ready to help me when I need it and saw something in me that I hadn’t seen – that’s given me a lot of confidence just to take on a lot of opportunities that I probably wouldn’t have if I didn’t receive the scholarship.”

In addition to networking opportunities, Westpac also offers scholarship recipients hands-on learning experiences, including internships and hackathons. Alicia was also given the opportunity to take part in a national campaign to promote the Young Technologists Scholarship to school leavers. Together, with her fellow scholarship recipients, Alicia stepped out of her comfort zone to present at various high schools across Australia to encourage students of all backgrounds and walks of life to consider a career in technology.

“Technology has the power to change lives; it’s already so integral to everything, from everyday chores to life saving technology. There’s so much opportunity and potential to impact everyone’s lives; I'm just excited to get involved,” she says.

So what advice does Alicia have for other young women looking to start their career in technology, and on scholarship opportunities like Westpac’s?

“At a Westpac event where Westpac Scholars were invited, Karen Stocks [former managing director of Twitter Australia] was giving a presentation and she said, ‘just put your hand up and have a go.’ That had such a resonating impact on me. It made me take up every opportunity that presented itself, even if I felt under qualified and under prepared. I wanted to emulate Karen’s mentality: the ‘you can do anything if you put your mind to it’,” Alicia explains.

“It was really empowering and left a mark on me. I thought, ‘that’s where I want to be’.”

And on the Westpac Young Technologists Scholarship? 

“If you are passionate about innovation and technology, you would be crazy not to apply. This scholarship opens up so many new opportunities and networks. You are connecting with some of the most inspiring people through the Scholars’ Network… from other like-minded young techs who can easily relate to where you’re at, to people who are already making amazing breakthroughs in technology, like Dr Nicholas Opie who designed the Stentrode, the world’s first brain recording device,” finishes Alicia.

This article is brought to you by Vogue and Westpac, proud partner of Vogue Codes 2017.