Speakers Profile - Dr Jillian Kenny

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Dr Jillian Kenny is an engineer, an educator, and a pilot-in-training. As a Lecturer at The University of Melbourne, she specialises in teaching, with a keen focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and outreach for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and related disciplines.

Recently, Jillian has taken on the challenge of attaining her pilot's licence as part of a new TV series 'Any Fool Can Fly'. She had never thought about becoming a pilot until she flew upside down in an ex-military fighter jet. Now, she is putting her skills to the test, and to keep things interesting, is learning in a Pacific Aerospace CT4E - an aerobatic military training aircraft that was previously used to teach Royal New Zealand Air Force pilots their stuff.

Growing up under ordinary circumstances in a tiny town in country Australia, she strives to empower young people to discover opportunities far beyond what they imagined possible for themselves. This ambition led to her co-found the non-profit organisation Power of Engineering, aiming to inspire girls and regional students to consider engineering careers, and later, the company Maths In Real Life, providing real-world mathematics resources for high school students.

Her work providing opportunities for non-traditional entrants into STEM professions has resulted in being named as one of the inaugural Superstars of STEM by Science and Technology Australia, among Australia's Top 100 Most Influential Women by the Australian Financial Review, and as one of Ten Emerging Women in Engineering by Engineers Australia.

Since completing a PhD exploring innovation in Australia's vital water sector, Jillian has applied the insight and experience gained through this process to a range of sectors including education, health and water.

Jillian speaks on various topics including education, diversity, innovation and curiosity-led careers to school, corporate and government audiences.