Alumnae in STEM: Jennifer Biggin (’84)

Jennifer Biggin ('84) studied teaching in Mathematics and Computing and after a few years decided to focus on computer science and changed to a Science Degree at The University of Melbourne. Jennifer discusses how Strathcona taught her that she can do anything she puts her mind to and although STEM is a highly male dominated field, it didn't bother her.

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 1.  Can you please explain your career journey to date?

When I first left Strathcona I began studying teaching in Mathematics and Computing. After a few years of study, I decided to focus on Computer Science and changed to a Science degree at Melbourne University. My first role out of University was in Sydney where I worked as a computer programmer. I worked in a variety of roles as a programmer, and I later progressed to being an IT manager. I am now Head of Technology in a charity.  I have worked in charities for over 20 years – I love being able to give back through my work.

2.    How did Strathcona prepare you for your chosen career?

Strathcona taught me I can do anything I put my mind to. Though I worked in a highly male dominant career it didn’t bother me. I always felt I could do what the men did. 

3.     What core attributes do you need for your chosen career?

The ability and interest to learn – IT is always changing. Also the enjoyment of solving problems and looking for continual improvement. 

 4.     What advice would you give someone looking to start in your industry?

There is so much scope in IT. Don’t think of it being a place for nerdy boys. Look for a general IT degree – try lots of different areas and find one that suits you. It’s not scary – there is so much potential. Always be open to new opportunities. 

5.     What are some of the challenges women in STEM face?

It can be male dominated. In my experience there was plenty of males bluffing. However, if you show you know what you are doing there is no reason why you can’t overcome any challenge. 

6.     What can we do to help promote working in STEM to women?

Just being there in a STEM job as an example of a women in STEM. You can’t imagine what you can be if you can’t see it. Encourage women to give it a go.