Dr Michelle Dickinson was recognised for her work in promoting science and engineering at an awards ceremony last night that celebrates the successes and achievements of women.
A senior lecturer in Chemical & Materials Engineering at the University of Auckland, Dr Dickinson received the Innovation and Science Award at this year’s Fairfax Media and Westpac New Zealand Women of Influence awards.
The award recognised her work both in nanotechnology and her charity work as the founder of OMG Tech, a project which gives young people the chance to interact with leading-edge technologies and ideas.
Dr Dickinson is a popular media science commentator who uses her ‘Nanogirl’ persona to engage ordinary people with the wonders of science. She is a strong advocate for more women studying science and engineering at both secondary and tertiary level.
The Women of Influence award is the latest in a long list of prestigious awards for Dr Dickinson, including being named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit and receiving a Blake Leader Award in 2015. She was named Science Communicator of the year in the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes in 2014.
Dr Dickinson obtained her PhD from Rutgers University (USA) and her MEng from Manchester University (UK). Her research involves measuring the mechanical properties of materials from the nanoscale through to the macro scale and she has a special interest in biological material behaviour.
Her enthusiasm for science goes back to her earliest years. She credits her father with encouraging her natural aptitude for all things science. By the time she was eight years old she had learned soldering and computer coding.
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Anne Beston I Media Relations Adviser, Communications, University of Auckland
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