Nine-year-old donates her savings to support women in STEM
At just nine years old, Loulou Amielh-Gibson has become the youngest philanthropist to support UTS, donating $200 – her life savings – to the UTS Wanago Program. Loulou decided to make the donation after hearing her mother, who works with UTS Wanago, discussing the program in a meeting.
In an email to UTS Advancement, she wrote:
I just want to let you know that I fulfilled the donation of $200 for Wanago.
The reason that I have done this is because when I am an adult my wanted job is to be an engineer and to inspire other women to follow their goals and for them to find engineering is not just for one gender.
Good for girls, good for Australia
In the next decade, 75% of all jobs will need science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills – yet only 16% of our high school students are pursuing degrees in these disciplines. More alarmingly, young women are significantly underrepresented in this cohort, with only 17% and 19% enrolled in Engineering and IT programs respectively.
The 2017 UNESCO report, Cracking the code: Girls’ and women’s education in STEM, found that social, cultural and gender norms undermine girls’ confidence and interest in STEM subjects from a very young age.
The Wanago Program takes a holistic approach to addressing these national workforce gaps. It offers STEM electives to NSW high school students who wouldn’t have the opportunity otherwise, and provides connections to industry and university to support them in the future. One of its key aims is to achieve 50% gender diversity in STEM degrees, partnering with new and existing UTS initiatives such as Women in Engineering and IT, STEAMpunk Girls and the Lucy Mentoring Program.
Loulou, who has ambitions to be a hydraulic engineer, says she wishes her primary school taught more engineering. “Sometimes we do small STEM activities – but not very often. And I just want to help ensure we all get to do it more, because I find that technology, maths and science are really not that fun without a little bit of engineering,” she explains. “I like the creativity.”
The joy of giving
When Loulou’s donation was completed, she wrote a second email:
A second reason to the donation is I want to let others know that even if something is stopping you, you can always do something special.
For example I'm only 9 and I did a donation to a university.
And the feeling is great when it happens,
Thank you so much for your guidance through this!
A million thanks
Vice-President of UTS Advancement Celia Hurley was so impressed she invited Loulou to come and meet with her in person – presenting her with a certificate in acknowledgement of her generosity. “You are very intelligent and very insightful,” she told Loulou. “I’m so impressed, and I’m also so grateful UTS is going to benefit from your contribution. Can you tell me more about why you chose to give us this gift?”
Loulou’s response was matter-of-fact. “I don’t like it when I see people saying that other people can’t do things. For example, once when I was at school doing sport, I got in the wrong uniform, and then someone came up to me and said you can’t do it because you’re wearing a dress,” she explained.
“I got inspiration from that. And I got reminded when we were talking about donations. So I just wanted to tell people, even if there’s something stopping them, no matter what they can always do it.”
The name Wanago was inspired by young people who ‘want a go’.
Together with donors like Loulou, we’re creating a future where all Australian high school students have the teachers, resources, opportunities and support to pursue careers in STEM – regardless of their gender, culture, where they live or how much money their family has.
If you’d like to partner with us as a donor and advocate of the UTS Wanago Program, please contact:
+61 2 9514 9861