Monday 10 July 2017
Broadcaster and CEO of TeenTech, Maggie Philbin, was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Technology by Southampton Solent University on Monday 10 July 2017.
Maggie has worked in radio and television for over 30 years on a wide range of science, medical and technology programmes - from Tomorrow’s World to Bang Goes The Theory.
On accepting her award, she told the graduating students at the ceremony: "It is actually very moving for me to stand here, as I know you have no idea of your potential or what you might achieve.
"You now all have an amazing opportunity as you are graduating in areas with skills which are much needed. The headlines state most days the skills needed in the computer sciences, particularly in applied computer science."
Maggie has consistently worked to improve the visibility of successful scientists and engineers, to encourage both young people and women to pursue careers and reach top positions in these areas.
In November 2008, she pioneered TeenTech, a dynamic initiative which brings together teenagers, scientists and technology companies. This initiative now runs in twelve locations across the UK and Ireland, with a year-round supporting awards scheme.
In April 2010 TeenTech won Best Engineering Event in Science Week; in 2011 it was the only UK organisation to receive a Google RISE Award; received Best Communication and Outreach (WISE/UKRC) in 2012; and was given an award by the Institute of Engineering Design for its work promoting design to young people in 2013.
HRH the Duke of York KG is now patron of TeenTech, and the winners of the annual Awards are invited to Buckingham Palace to celebrate their success.
Maggie works tirelessly to increase diversity in STEM companies, helping organisations understand that social and ethnic diversity are as important as gender. In June 2016 she was voted most influential woman in UK IT by Computer Weekly and was also named 2016 Digital Leader of the Year.
In January 2017, she was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List for her work to promote careers in STEM and the creative industries. She is President of the Institute of Engineering Designers and patron of the Council for Professors and Heads of Computing.
Her final words to those graduating were: "There are three things that are really important which I would like students to take from the ceremony today. The first is to always say yes when an opportunity presents itself, even when you think, 'I'm not sure I can do this', always have a go. The biggest obstacle you will ever face in life is yourself, do not let yourself be an obstacle.
"The second is to never be afraid to ask for help. And thirdly, never underestimate your ability to inspire, you may feel you are at the beginning of your career but as a young graduate, trust me, you are the best people to inspire teenagers."