Outstanding high school mathematicians will be recognised on Wednesday with the presentation of the UNSW Canberra Prize for the Best Female Students in Mathematics. The prize, supported by Northrop Grumman Australia, is in its third year.

The Year 8 and 9 recipients, who have been nominated by their schools, are the top female maths students in their year.

UNSW Canberra Rector Professor Michael Frater said the annual award aims to address the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and encourage more young women to pursue STEM studies at a tertiary level.

Professor Frater, who is also an electrical engineer, said there are many opportunities for students who excel at maths.

“An often-asked question I hear is: ‘How important is mathematics? When would I need to use this in real life?” Professor Frater said.

“But maths is at the centre of almost everything we do, and it is used to solve real-world problems. A good example of this is UNSW Canberra’s Bushfire Dynamics Team who are developing mathematical models to predict the behaviour of bushfires.

“This could ultimately equip our emergency services with better information to plan their movements, saving property, wildlife and even lives – this is just one example of where maths can take you.”


The Maths Prize is aligned with UNSW Canberra’s goal of a 50% female enrolment rate in undergraduate engineering degrees.

The prize winners will be presented with $250, along with the award. These students will also be eligible for $5000 towards their degree should they choose to enrol in a Bachelor of Engineering degree as a civilian student at UNSW Canberra.

The award ceremony, which will be held prior to International Women’s Day, is proudly supported by Northrop Grumman Australia. With their support, UNSW Canberra has been able to recognise the achievements of over 300 young women in our community who are excelling in Mathematics. Northrop Grumman strongly believes in inspiring and supporting the next generations of STEM leaders to solve global challenges and believes this event is a great way to celebrate and encourage young women to look at STEM careers.

“Northrop Grumman has been a valued supporter of this event since it began in 2018,” Professor Frater said.  

“As an aerospace and Defence company, mathematics is integral to their work and they know how important it is to develop those skills in high school.”