Stephanie Piper has embarked on the trip of a lifetime visiting some of the world’s biggest tech companies.

USQ’s Community Engagement Coordinator visited Google, Facebook, Dropbox and Twitter during a trip to Silicon Valley.

Piper, who is also the president of the Brisbane Hackerspace, was one of 20 Australians aged 18-29 in the StartUp Catalyst Future Founders Mission selected for their potential to be the country’s next batch of globally successful tech entrepreneurs.

“I’m honoured to be on this mission and excited for the opportunities this experience will open up for me,” she said.

“After the mission, I plan to bring insights and networks back to aid makers in the local community, and mentor others in developing hardware startups.”

“I am looking forward to building strong networks and taking what I have learnt to help our students at USQ become entrepreneurs of the future.”

Piper heads USQ’s Makerspace, a community space for staff, students and the wider community to come together to make and create.

It was her tech-saviness and out-of-the-box thinking that saw her standout in the interview process.

“We only had 15 minutes and I thought wearing a freshly made 3D printed jacket would make myself more memorable,” she said.

Applications were invited from around Australia, with more than 521 applications and a shortlist of 71 interviews.

USQ Pro Vice-Chancellor (Scholarly Information and Learning Services) Professor Helen Partridge congratulated Piper.

She looks forward to hearing her ideas and inspiration on return.

“This is an invaluable opportunity for Stephanie personally, and USQ broadly, to build strong networks and directly feed into USQ’s strategic plans around engagement, partnerships and international profile, helping our students to become entrepreneurs of the future,” Professor Partridge said.

Brisbane entrepreneur, investor, Shark Tank star and founder of Startup Catalyst Steve Baxter said the program allowed young entrepreneurs to see how startups operated in world-class environments.

“This is something we need to be doing to assist the cultural transformation of our economy to one that is fast paced, startup aware, and global first in its thinking,” he said.

Other readers enjoyed this story on the USQ student awards here.