Meet 12-year-old tech inventor, Celia

mastercard innovation challenge girls4tech
Celia (left) won the MasterCard Innovation Challenge for her HoloTeach idea. She is pictured here with runners up Isobel (7, Vic) and Nikolas (12, NSW). Image: MasterCard

When 12-year-old Celia came up with her award-winning tech idea late last year, she can hardly have predicted just how relevant it would be in a few months’ time.

In December 2019, the Mastercard Innovation challenge invited young Australians to present their ideas for a tech invention that would make the world a better place. Celia’s idea was for ‘HoloTeach’; a Virtual Reality program that gives students access to a rich classroom experience, even when they don’t have access to a classroom IRL. Celia explains that, among other things, HoloTeach would incorporate real-time translation for classrooms with diverse languages, as well as culturally relevant curriculums.

“I wanted to come up with an idea that would help educate children, and would be able to help many people and be far-reaching. I thought if it used technology then it could be rolled out to educate children in less fortunate positions,” Celia says.

Learning from home

Now the 12-year-old Perth student, like so many others around the world, has been schooling from home due to COVID-19. While she may not have seen her HoloTeach invention idea brought to life just yet, she is able to make use of a number of online resources to help her learn from home.

In late March, Mastercard announced it was extending its Girls4Tech STEM curriculum program online through a newly launched website, Girls4Tech Connect, where students, teachers and parents can download STEM lessons to do at home.

“Each week on Tuesday and Thursday, we are given a new activity to work on via a Facebook page, where I can connect and collaborate with other students all over the world who share my interests,” says Celia.

Celia says she’s also learning how to code over at and likes to keep up with the latest science news by reading COSMOS Magazine.

While Celia says while she quite likes the convenience of having school at home (“I like not having to move around going from class to class, and I like how everything is carefully structured for the students to remain focused”), she does miss her friends and being able to chat to teachers and other students in the classroom.

Despite her knack for tech, she says her current dream is to be a doctor when she grows up, because she wants to help people. Maybe Celia will join the growing health + tech revolution, using computer science to save lives!


Gemma Chilton

Author: Gemma Chilton

Gemma is the Managing Editor of Careers with STEM magazine. She has previously worked as Digital Managing Editor at Australian Geographic and a staff writer at Cosmos science magazine.


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