Jennifer Seberry

In her own words (adapted from her Living History interview)

My name is Jennifer Seberry. I’m an Emeritus Professor of Computer Science, the first woman to finish a PhD in the particular subject, which is computational mathematics, the first female professor of computer science in Australia. It goes on and on.

Being a pioneer is not easy. I had to fight for everything. There wasn’t maternity leave, there wasn’t child care leave, there wasn’t school holiday leave. They’ve got unconscious bias. They just don’t think of women.

We had a ‘SOFIANS’ club, and we used to babysit for each other. It was a real feature here. We made it a lot easier for women at La Trobe University at that time. There was one - count it - one computer. So I used to have to put my program into the computer and then let the compiler do some work, and then put everything out on paper tape.

So I ran that computer every night for months. It was probably about three metres long and two metres high and a metre deep.

My group certified the Commonwealth Bank automatic teller machine system. That was really the very beginning of commercialisation, and now it’s everywhere.

Recently, they’ve announced the Jennifer Seberry Lecture in computer security. I’m just overwhelmed.

Never give up. There’s always something you can do. It may look like every path is blocked, but there will be a way if you think laterally and keep going. There will be a way.