Aussie STEM Stars: Marita Cheng
Series: Aussie Stem Stars
1 Jul. 2022
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Age range 9 to 14
Marita Cheng is a robotics entrepreneur and the founder of the global not-for-profit organisation RoboGals. She builds robots that help people with disabilities to live fuller lives. She’s also the youngest member of the Order of Australia, one of Forbes magazine's Top 50 Women in Tech, and the 2012 Young Australian of the Year.
Marita grew up in a housing commission house in Cairns, where her single mum worked as a hotel cleaner and Christmas dinner came from a charity hamper. Driven by a desire to experience as much of life as she could, Marita grabbed every opportunity, from volunteer door-knocking and Japanese lessons to science camps and piano competitions. Her drive to meet new people, develop new skills and experience new things set her on a path to study engineering and become a technology entrepreneur. From robotic arms and telepresence robots through to AI-poly, an app that helps people with vision impairment make sense of their world, Marita’s inventions are a call to action for us all to be creators.
She has certainly lived by her mother's advice to her as a young girl: 'Just work hard, study hard, and give back to your community'.