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Effective community engagement for a diverse tech workforce

Local tech talent is all around us - but we need to be better at supporting youth into tech careers. Here's how community engagement helps.

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Date and time:

Tue 17 May 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM




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STEM Alliance Aotearoa presents a panel of tech professionals, educators and community activators passionate about uplifting the next generation of local tech talent. Hear about why STEM community engagement initiatives are critical to bridging the gap between tech industries and the education system.

We know the "why" - the NZ tech industry is booming and it offers opportunities for high-value jobs, innovation, creativity, and putting NZ on the world stage. But these opportunities are not reaching everyone. The under-representation of women, Māori and Pasifika and other minorities has been widely reported. It represents not only a significant equity issue within our communities, but also a missed opportunity for the tech sector.

So how do we engage more youth in STEM and foster a diverse and equitable pipeline into tech careers? What are the barriers?

What does effective, culturally inclusive and fun community engagement look like?

How can more businesses, STEM professionals or educators - like you! - get involved?

This webinar will showcase effective engagement initiatives through 3 distinct speakers from the tech, education and community development sectors. We will also be hosting a breakout networking session, for attendees to discuss their own experiences and where to from here.

Increasing diversity and equity in tech will require a collective effort - and we invite you to join us!

About STEM Alliance

STEM Alliance Aotearoa fosters the development of science and technology across New Zealand through supporting effective outreach and community engagement. Visit our website to find out more.

This community event listing is made possible with the support of NZTech



Sarah Washbrooke

Technology Education NZ Council member & 2020 Prime Minister Science Teacher Prize winner

Sarah is a STEM and technology specialist with over 25 years teaching experience in both the United Kingdom and Aotearoa New Zealand. She has taught all technological areas in the classroom and online. Her mahi has a focus on inclusive, integrated learning environments, and learning programs linked to the local community.

Teachers across NZ have been supported through personalised professional learning, webinars, hands-on workshops, and conferences in the areas of STEM and Technology. Sarah also guides ākonga and teachers with her volunteer work for two Technology subject associations, TENZ & DTTA.

Sarah has been nominated for several teaching excellence awards and was awarded the Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize in 2020. Sarah is Product Development Lead for ByteEd, designing and developing resources for teachers and students in Digital Technologies and is a Teaching Fellow at University of Waikato in Technology Education.


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Mahsa Mohaghegh

Founder of She Sharp and AUT Director of Women in Technology

With a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, Mahsa is heavily involved in researching and developing high-level AI strategy in contexts such as the future of work and digital disruption. She is on the Executive Council for AI Forum and is a board member of NZ Tech representing government and education, and on their sub-board for diversity and inclusion.

Mahsa is the founder and director of charitable trust She Sharp, which aims to encourage more girls to study STEM fields. Her passion for promoting careers in technology to young women has been widely recognised and has seen her nominated for and win numerous awards.

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Jewelz Petley

Specialist Advisor - Youth Economy, Community Social Innovation

Jewelz is Ngā Puhi and Te Rarawa based in Auckland (Tāmaki-makau-rau), where she is Specialist Advisor, Youth Economy, in the Community Social Innovation Unit at Auckland Council, Australasia’s largest local government organisation. Here she works alongside stakeholders, rangatahi (young people), and the community to develop economic opportunities for rangatahi.  


She has spent 15 years working to improve the wellbeing of Māori and Pacific communities within the charitable and public sector, working at both grass roots and systems level. She specializes in bringing communities together and supporting them to identify and direct their own kaupapa (positions and policies). A strong leader with skills in collaborative practice, agile thinking, and facilitation, she thrives in complexity. Her goal is to see Māori rangatahi (youth) and hapori (community) thriving in places where they live, learn, work and play. 


Sneh Patel

Project Manager, STEM Alliance Aotearoa

Sneh is a project manager at Te Hononga Akoranga COMET, the host organisation of STEM Alliance Aotearoa. She supports the delivery of STEM Alliance events and news resources. 

Sneh is also the project manager for WeSTEM, an innovative new programme for engaging Pasifika students in west Auckland in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths).

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