Teenage girls from across NSW attend UOW STEM camp

Emerging technologies and the skills needed to innovate and revolutionise Australian industries will be the focus of a new camp for high achieving, STEM-focused teenage girls.

STEM, otherwise known as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, currently accounts for 75 per cent of the skills and knowledge needed in the country’s fastest growing occupations, according to a recent study by the Australian Industry Group.

From January 15-18 a total of 55 young women between the ages of 15 and 18 from across NSW will stay on campus at the University of Wollongong (UOW), participating in hands-on activities that incorporate learning from STEM and will ultimately inspire them to be the next generation of STEM leaders.

Through an integrated STEM approach, all activities will start with a concept, encouraging the girls to develop their own curiosity for processes and solutions. They will learn about coding and cryptology, sustainability and renewable energy, artificial muscles and robots, and 3D and biomaterials printing. There will be visits to the start-up companies located at iAccelerate, UOW’s innovation ecosystem, tours of the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre and the opportunity to learn about ground-breaking research at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Sciences. The group leaders assigned to each group will include young females from professional engineering industries and females studying STEM degrees at UOW, providing the girls with mentors and role models.

Camp activities will be facilitated by local companies, start-ups and research bodies, with a strong focus on building future relationships between the university, local industry and the Illawarra community and preparing young women for the jobs of the future.

UOW’s STEM Schools Outreach Coordinator and camp organiser, Destiny Paris, said the activities are specifically designed to interest and encourage girls to explore and develop ideas and solutions for problems facing humanity.

“We know that social stereotypes and a lack of role models can result in females steering away from STEM subjects and careers. But if we ‘change the story’ from technology to context (environmental, social and health) we can help reverse this trend,” she said.

“We want the girls to realise that STEM is about discovery, design, innovation, imagination and contribution. The skills they acquire through STEM create more diverse workforces and improve decision-making for communities and industries at all levels.”

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The STEM Camp for Girls will take place from Sunday afternoon 15 January to Wednesday evening 18 January at the University of Wollongong main campus and Innovation campus.

Words by Emilie Wells. Originally published on UOW Newsroom.