Rachel, 27, is originally from Limerick where she completed her undergraduate degree in Graphic Design. Following a successful venture as an Art Director and completing a Masters in Independent Game Design, Rachel developed a prototype of her game ‘Get Closer’ with her girlfriend Ida.
Get Closer is a text adventure game where players open dialogue with a forest creature who needs their help. The game teaches young children how to identify and cope with difficult emotions such as sadness and fear as a way to talk about bigger mental health issues.
Rachel hopes that the game will help to bridge the gap between education and mental health to improve support and resources. She also wants to be a role model to those with learning differences and prove that having ADHD shouldn’t stop you from pursuing a career in tech and coding.
During her scholarship, Rachel plans to work alongside her professional mentor to improve, optimise and distribute Get Closer and build relationships with schools.
“People with ADHD tend to think that something involving logical thinking isn’t for them. I’m happy to be represented as a coder with a learning difference as I think there isn’t a lot of visibility for people like us.”
“Sky is a tech company, I’m hoping to make the most out of the professionals that work there and get a better idea of how to optimise, build and distribute the game.”
Mary, the youngest Sky Women in Tech Scholar, grew up on a farm with her four siblings. Mary and her family were continually running into problems on their own farm which resulted in her and her twin sister setting up their own company, designing and manufacturing the Sheep Marking Gun.
Unlike the standard option available, the Sheep Marking Gun is a single-handed device, allowing the farmer to hold the sheep in one hand and mark it with the other.
As part of the scholarship, Mary plans to continue engineering agritech products, including a GPS tracker system for sheep to prevent them being stolen or attacked by predators.
Mary was inspired to apply to the scholarship by Sky’s commitment to sustainability and supporting women working in technology.
“Sky is making huge efforts to support women in technology and that encouraged me to apply.”
“Our goal is to use technology to solve simple problems that farmers encounter and make their day-to-day lives easier.”
Rebecca is looking to create never-before seen interactive story-telling that will mix linear television and gaming to provide viewers with a dynamic blended reality. She recently worked on Traitor by Pilot Theatre, a VR-live theatre thriller that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, which has inspired her to explore the medium of interactive TV.
Rebecca completed her undergraduate degree in Interactive Media at the University of York where she learned a wide range of coding, user design and media theory.
Rebecca plans to use the £25,000 investment to create television pilots that put the viewer in control of the cameras and gives them the options to follow certain characters.
Rebecca was inspired to apply to the Sky Women in Tech Scholarship as a result of Sky’s investment in its own inhouse content and wants to use Sky’s knowledge to turn her creative vision into a reality.
“I’ve had the idea to create an interactive TV pilot for around 5 years now, and I thought the Sky Women in Tech Scholarship would be a really good way to talk to people who know what they’re doing within television and technology and hopefully make something really cool.”
“I can code all day and get into the flow of it. I knew that I wanted to create interesting storytelling content and tech was the vehicle for me to do that.”
With no technical experience Colleen set-up the successful My Gator Watch, a wearable mobile phone and tracker for children, after taking her kids to a farm and seeing another mum looking for her missing child.
My Gator Watch helps younger children gain independence while giving families peace of mind, allowing kids to stay active without the distractions of a camera, internet, social media and games.
With the help of the Sky Women in Tech Scholarship, the inspirational mother of two plans to evolve the product from a tracker for kids, to a wearable mobile device for seniors that can track location and detect falls, to help the elderly maintain independence.
“It’s a great opportunity to partner with a major brand, and I really see a family focus at Sky. My watch is targeted at young children and to expand to seniors means it’s for the whole family and Sky is a great brand for families.”
“I never had thought, ‘okay, I’m going to start a tech business.’ I had zero technology experience or education, I just had an idea. If you ever see a problem for yourself, ask around, do others have the same problem? And if they do and you have a solution, give it a go.”
After completing a Masters in Arts and Cultural Management at King’s College London, she set-up Musemio, a VR App which transforms the way children experience culture by using engaging VR elements to educate.
Musemio is a mobile App that children can use in a cardboard headset. It’s designed to make museums and the arts entertaining for children with immersive storytelling and interactive graphics.
Olga was inspired to apply for this year’s programme after meeting Women in Tech Scholar, Kike Oniwinde.
After impressing the judging panel with her passion to develop the App, she plans to use AI-powered engines to personalise VR experiences to match different learning styles, and help cultural institutions improve their interactions with younger digital generations.
“Pursuing a career in technology is something you can learn on the job. As long as you have the support of incredible people, and you are willing to put your heart and passion into creating innovation, you will be able to succeed.”
“Sky is an absolutely incredible company that is very diverse and at the forefront of technological innovation and development.”
“It’s important that girls understand they can change the world. Technology enables you to tackle global problems and come up with amazing creative solutions for your own passion.”
There is no bigger advocate for the potential of technology to make a difference in the world than Hannah – it’s more or less in her genes after watching her parents build a website for their business. Fast forward to a Computer Sciences degree, some work with start-ups and lots of practical experience and Hannah is now raring to go as a Sky Tech Scholar.
Woe betide anyone who dismisses a career in technology as being too geeky – for Hannah, it’s about creativity, social impact and innovation.
“It’s a common misconception that computing can’t involve design and creativity. Of course, you need to know how to code, but once you’ve mastered that, the world’s your oyster in terms of how you apply it. I love seeing tech that drives positive social impact or it plays a role in environmental awareness. I’m super excited about the potential of the Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality spaces - I think these technologies will shake up a lot of industries’’
Aswel as the work she is doing for her Scholarship project, Hannah is in the process of building a social, uplifting Virtual Reality experience to try and help alleviate the negative symptoms associated with dementia. Potentially helping tackle a huge social and financial problem within the medical field.
When it comes to people who inspire her, Hannah doesn’t hesitate – her role model is Quincy Larson, founder of freeCodeCamp which pairs students learning programming with non-profits to provide them with practical development experience.
So what should you do if you want to find out whether a career in technology is for you? Go to a hackathon, says Hannah.
“Spending an entire weekend with a team of developers, most likely not sleeping, building a problem-solving product and pitching it to a load of students and judges. That’s a pretty strong indicator that you have a passion for technology if you ask me! “
Kike is proof that people from any background can pursue a career in technology – even when you’re a Team GB javelin thrower!
Rather than come to technology through the conventional route, Kike spotted a business problem whilst at work that she believed technology could solve.
“I started BYP Network after realising how difficult it was to meet other recent black graduates and working professionals, due to the lack of diversity in many organisations. It started as a project from my bedroom in-between work and athletics training but almost instantly people were receptive. It’s been amazing to see the platform grow but it can be so much better and I want to reach millions of people worldwide.”
She hopes the BYP network will create new businesses, offer up job opportunities or create friendship circles full of visionaries. Now that she can see the potential, Kike wants to gain the technical skills that will allow her to develop her ideas.
“Technology is not just for the global elites - anyone can get involved, anyone can bring their ideas to life; they just have to develop a skill and put hard work behind it. I hope my project will inspire all minorities (women and people of colour) that they too can create something that changes the world.
And her inspiration? Who else but Oprah Winfrey?
“I firmly believe that Oprah continuously stands as a beacon of hope for all. As a creator of her own successful platform, she is someone who I can only aspire to emulate.”
Oishi is already a successful woman in technology – she will be developing her Sky Tech Scholar project whilst holding down a fulltime job as a software engineer at Rolls-Royce. Oishi is the epitome of drive and determination, as well as possessing some extremely impressive technical skills.
Oishi has made it her business to immerse herself in the world of technology with internships, work placements, computer courses and national and international hackathons/competitions. It has led to her receiving multiple accolades including the President and Vice-Chancellor Student of the Year award in her final year at university and an Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Achievement Award. It’s clear that she has a genuine passion for her subject.
“Technology has furthered everything from putting people on the moon to curing life-threatening diseases. As it has the power to drive so many improvements, I want to develop my knowledge in this field so that I can one day contribute towards changing someone’s life.”
She has put her experiences to good use, becoming a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) ambassador for the younger generation through various volunteering posts, such as mentoring at the BBC coding club, chairing her university’s women in Computer Science group and being a vocal champion for gender diversity.
Oishi states that she wants to be a role model for the younger generation (especially females) and to help and inspire them in their tech career. But who inspires her?
“'My motivation/inspiration comes from personal loss. When I was 14, my elder sister passed away when she was only 16, this incident taught me one thing, sometime life doesn't give you second chance. So take every opportunity that comes in your way.'’