Another interesting day.
Ok, so there was a big pow-wow today, with the Education Mavenette of the AutoCRC.
I better provide subtitles.
My PhD - and about a dozen others - is being funded by the Co-Operative Research Centre (CRC) for advanced Automotive systems. CRCs are joint educational/Industry Research and Development groups, co-operative partnerships where academic and industry groups get together to see what they can do for each other. Industry provides the money, and gets both directed research, a higher profile amongst undergrads, and even a say in what is taught, so they have a skilled workforce that meets their needs.
This was a planning meeting, saying what the situation was, and to explore future possibilities and overcome difficulties.
One of the 3 main problems the Automotive Industry has here is Diversity - there isn't any. Only 8% of engineering graduates are female, and less than 1% of engineers working in the auto industry.
As the senior female engineer there (3 gals, 30 guys, sigh) , and since I'm a member of the WICcans (Women in Information and Communication - WIC - the national group), and the WITches (Women in Information Technology - the group within the ANU's Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology), I got a special after-meeting one-on-one with the Education mavenette. She was really interested in what was going on, and needed the contacts.
Well, after a Kaffeklatsch about Diversity, how to achieve it, what's gone wrong with previous attempts etc, I decided to give her the post-grad treatment. I showed her my presentation on Intersex, and about three quarters of the way through the penny started to drop. The slide about passport difficulties for IS and TS people, as she knew that I'd had some for unspecified reasons.
She still burst out in stifled laughs when she saw the last slide - the one detailing (with pictures) my unique perspective. Then we got around to discussing how TS is 1:3500 or so in the general population, but 1:100 in IT, and we think about 1:250 in Engineering generally.
They're just starting to formulate HR policies in this regard, so I'll be involved in that in addition to my PhD studies. As she said, we might even generate a paper on the subject.
It was great to get a hug from her as she left. I think we'll work well together.