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Ideas, Progress & the Future

Empowering future generations of techmakers

Caitrin Dunn has always believed in the transformative powers of technology.

One of her earliest memories is of sitting on her father’s lap to watch TV … father and daughter enthralled by the time- and space-bending adventures of an erstwhile Time Lord.

“I grew up watching Dr Who and reading science fiction, and then studied design and technology in school – and I just fell in love,” Caitrin said.

“Technology enables us to do so much and be so much, and I feel everyone should be confident in using and making it part of our lives.”

Little wonder that today she’s a Partner in Technology Consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Australia. In her daily work, she helps to shape and transform the strategies of a nation, from responding to challenges to seizing opportunities … and designing Information and Communications Technology ICT plans for the future.

The UC alumna – who has both a Bachelor of Commerce in Banking and Finance and a Bachelor of Laws– is determined to leave a valuable legacy for the future.

“I believe that we have the opportunity and the responsibility to leave the world a better place – and that’s why I work in this space, because of the chance to impact the community,” she said.

Caitrin would also like to empower others to make a difference … and to change the world, you start with the children.

“We’ve got a generation growing up for whom tech is just an everyday part of their lives – it comes naturally to them to use apps for everything,“ she said.

This could be a double-edged sword though, if it leads to us taking technology for granted.

“It’s important that future generations don’t see tech only as a tool, but that they seek to understand how it works,” Caitrin said.

Kids need to know that they’re not relegated to the audience all the time – they can peek behind the curtain and learn the Time Lord’s secrets. Maybe even be the Time Lord.

“We really need the designers, makers and builders of technology to drive us forward,” she said. “And one important way to enable and encourage them is to make STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) more accessible.”

That accessibility can be increased by expanding the acronym. The STEAM approach incorporates an Arts perspective into STEM, and Caitrin feels that this is a completely natural fit.

That’s why she’s both a fan and a champion of initiatives that provide an opportunity to change the narrative.

“IIt's important to make it very clear that design and creativity are really integral facets of technology,” said Caitrin.

“Art brings the human experience to life, drives understanding of humanity itself – when you consider that technology is created by and for humans, you realise how important it is to have an understanding of people underlying any technological advances.”

Encouraging more women to be active in the tech space is a subject close to Caitrin's heart.

“Though we don’t have equal numbers in any field yet, there’s a much greater awareness of the need for women in STEM nowadays,” she said.

“Globally, women are more likely to purchase via e-commerce, and are the dominant consumer purchasers in the market, so it only makes sense that we have input into the how our products and services are designed and crafted. For instance, if Artificial Intelligence reflects only the needs of a single gender, then it really doesn’t mirror or cater to reality.”

“And as technology advances, so too do we need a greater diversity of thinking driving it,” she said.

Words by Suzanne Lazaroo. Photo: supplied

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