The STEM Camp for Girls remains a legacy for the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences in empowering young women to pursue a career in STEM. Each year keen and enthusiastic young girls travel to UOW for 4 days of hands-on workshops, site visits and networking.
For 2020, participants came from as far north as Mackay in Queensland and as far south as Albury on the border of New South Wales and Victoria. BlueScope and Transport for NSW continued their valued sponsorship for the event and hosted the participants for eye-opening site visits. UOW Academic staff from EIS and SMAH, as well as EIS Technical officers all worked together to support the execution of the event. While the camp aims to inspire young women, the numerous stakeholders involved builds a culture of inclusivity from high school to university and industry.
In 2019, the Women in STEM Decadal plan was released by the Australia Academy of Science, the report outlined the challenges which face women in all stages of their career in STEM. From primary school through to senior levels of their career, most common themes included stereotypes and lack of role models and mentors. The STEM Camp addresses these issues in breaking down stereotypes that are imposed on young girls from an early age and revealing new ideas on potential career options. Group Leaders, UOW Alumna and industry professionals are provided with an opportunity to mentor and be a role model to the young girls which offers a mutual benefit. To date, over 450 participants have attended the camp and over 80 UOW students have offered their time as a Group Leader.
Feedback from the STEM Camp for Girls included positive comments from the participants and Group Leaders showing an appreciation for bringing together like-minded women and creating a network that includes women at all stages in their career journey. Participants and Group Leaders both leave the camp feeling empowered, as well as forging lasting connections.
Creating change takes a whole community, not just individuals – the STEM Camp for Girls brings together staff from all over UOW as well as Industry, to help young women realise their potential in STEM.