2023 — 4 speeches
Dr Michelle Dickinson
Dr Michelle Dickinson (MNZM) is a Nanotechnologist and Materials Engineer. She has spent the last two decades contributing to cutting-edge technologies, researching solutions for medical and technology applications for clients who range from small start-ups to large corporates.
Having set up and run New Zealand's only nanomechanical testing laboratory that specialises in making and breaking tiny things (nano and micro), Michelle spends her time helping companies with board advisory around science and technology commercialisation including technical consulting for investors and VC's looking for ROI advice for high-tech start-ups. Her experience spans academia, government labs and large-scale R&D departments. She says the key to success is not necessarily how great the technology is, but how well the science is communicated and how diverse the engineering team is.
Michelle's success comes from her hard work and lots of lucky opportunities, allowing her to break the poverty cycle she grew up in through education. This experience led her to Co-Found Nanogirl Labs, a socially conscious business designed to create beautiful and engaging content to help everyone build confidence around STEM.
Nanogirl Labs is both an in-person and a digital platform that highlights positive, diverse role models with fun and engaging storylines and kinaesthetic based learning helping everyone to see that they can be a creator not just a consumer. Nanogirl Labs's goal is to help people have a meaningful relationship with technology no matter their educational background or socioeconomic status. Their projects include the bestselling book The Kitchen Science Cookbook and TV show, a digital STEM platform and STEM education in schools in the pacific islands.
Michelle became a household name during New Zealand's COVID-19 response, often called upon by the media and government to present the complex happenings in layman's terms. During this time, she was praised for her work in the education sector to explain the disease and its implications to children - her videos and content became a highly sought after resource by parents and teachers. She is now also helping businesses who are concerned about their staff's wellbeing.
Michelle has been recognised for her many services to New Zealand for her work in STEM including; becoming a Member of New Zealand Order of Merit for services to science in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours, awarded the Sir Peter Blake Leadership award in 2015, was the winner of the Women of Influence award for science and innovation in 2016, winner of the Prime Minister's Science Media Communication Prize and the New Zealand Association of Scientists Science Communicators Award in 2014.