Ciara Judge: proof that age is no barrier to innovation

Dots speaker Ciara Judge is a multi-award winning scientist and entrepreneur – and all before reaching her 18th birthday. Whilst participating in a Young Entrepreneurs Program at MIT she founded Purchasemate – a game-changing socially conscious shopping app. We can’t wait to hear Ciara’s talk Student to Startup: Why age should be no barrier to innovation on September 4th.

We had a chat with Ciara about her presentation – and her incredible achievements over the past two years.


Brilliant Noise: What can we expect from your talk at Dots?
Ciara: I’m going to tell my story, about going from a normal student, to an internationally recognised young scientist, to running startups in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and tech industries. I will also be speaking about how this journey is one easily replicated by other young people if they are given the space they need to innovate, and how the potential of the youth could be unlocked in the simplest ways!

How has your life changed since your Time nomination last year?
My life has been a bit of a whirlwind since last year! I definitely haven’t had the most conventional teenage life, but I count myself lucky for the experiences I’ve had. I’ve been able to travel to a lot of different places all over Europe and indeed, the world for conferences and events. The best part of these trips has definitely been the wonderfully diverse new friends I’ve made – from Florida to Sydney, I’ll always have a place to stay!

What inspired your route into a STEM career?
Well, from a young age I’ve always been helplessly curious about the world around me. I think that’s what attracted me to science: for me it was always new and exciting with plenty of discoveries to be made! My family identified this in me and fostered my interest until suddenly I was catapulted onto a global science platform. Now I am in a position to encourage others just like me to pursue their interest in science – something for which I am eternally grateful.

What do you think would help get more young women interested in studying STEM subjects?
I think the breaking down of any stereotype definitely starts in the home. Little subconscious biases are given off from an early age about what young girls should be interested in, even including birthday and Christmas gifts: for example, are you more likely to give a girl a barbie doll or LEGO? Parents need to keep an open mind and encourage their daughters to follow their interests, no matter what they may be.

Are there any of the other Dots speakers that you’re particularly looking forward to hearing?
I’m really looking forward to hearing from Steve Chapman, just because I’m so interested in human psychology and the workings of the human mind. Also I feel like Sam Conniff’s presentation will be really relevant to me as a young person in the startup world considering the work he does in youth marketing. All in all it looks like a fantastic event and I’m so excited to be attending!

Buy your ticket for Dots 2015 to see Ciara and a whole host of other fantastic speakers talking about the transformative power of ideas.