Name: Marita Cheng
Twitter: @maritacheng
Works at: Robogals Global

What is Robogals?

Robogals is an international student-run organisation that aims to substantially increase the number of young women pursuing engineering in their tertiary studies and careers. Its primary activity is robotics workshops aimed at girls in primary and secondary school.

What does it feel like to be the Young Australian of the Year?

It feels really surreal, even now over four months after the announcement. I still can’t believe I was chosen and I feel very lucky and very blessed. It’s such an exciting platform and it inspires me to achieve more.

How important do you think a formal education is for achieving your dreams?

In my case, not very, because I want to be a technology entrepreneur, and that can only be learned by doing! Having said that, I feel like my time at university has been very valuable because over the course of my degree I’ve grown so much as a person in terms of my life skills, in additional to the technical knowledge that we learn in the classroom. Also I think the engineering degree is really good because it leaves so many doors open to get involved in engineering, or business or finance. When I was an exchange student in London, practically everyone who graduated from engineering went into banking or an area like that! But of course, for people who want to pursue a more traditional engineering career at a large firm, having a degree is essential.

Why do you think there is a lack of women in engineering and technology disciplines?

Mostly just a perception that it’s a boys club, and an enormous lack of women role models in the profession.

What’s the hardest challenge you’ve had to face to date with your endeavours?

Managing my time! As my plate of commitments fills up, I always have to take stock and go back to the fundamentals of what really matters to me to make sure that I’m always pursuing something that provides satisfaction and value to my life and the lives of others.

What’s next for you and Robogals?

One of our big things for the year, the Robogals Science Challenge, is kicking off right now, and I encourage all young women under the age of 18 to enter online at! Also, I am currently executing a succession plan, as I’m leaving Robogals at the end of this year, and if any of The Fetch readers have some experience to share in that regard, please drop me a line at