This is a guest post and part of our ongoing Student Life series
On Thursday the 14th of July, Engineers Australia ran the Women in Engineering Experience It Student Conference hosted at UTS.
Year 9-11 girls from across NSW were invited to participate in workshops run by different universities, aimed at various engineering majors. This was accompanied by the opportunity to listen to two amazing speakers, Captain Mona Shindy and Gabrielle McGill, followed by a career panel.
UOW students went with a collection of volunteers and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Ambassadors who ran 2 workshops.
My group ran a mechatronics activity, whilst the others ran a materials engineering one. Our activity incorporated our recently purchased STEAM kits from the LittleBits Company. These are simple modules that magnetically clip together.
Participants were split into house groups as the whole day was made into a competition (we were to give them house points). We had three “creations” for them to make and made this into a marathon. The girls were extremely excited and motivated, some groups being very competitive and racing to get their creations finished. Even though they were all from different schools, they got along really well with each other, and were all engaging in the group product.
Our original 3 creations only took the groups 15-30 minutes (quicker than what we originally planned) so we quickly made one last competition of a Creative Design. This is where the girls had the most fun, they really seemed to enjoy coming up with their own creations. We challenged them to not only finish a design but come up with a pitch, we then voted for our favourites (and gave them points).
There were some amazingly creative things the girls came up with. One was a “flappy” bird, when its nose was pushed the wings flapped. The other was a “disco” lamp. The girls figured out how to attach a screw driver to a motor, which was then attached to an LED that changed colour when adjusted, propped under a plastic cup and it became a really funky light.
It was so inspiring to see how excited the girls were by making their own creative designs.
Before lunch we were invited to watch the two engineering speakers and a careers panel. Both of the speakers were extremely passionate and inspiring (even from someone already committed to engineering as a career path) one being a navy officer (Captain Mona Shindy) and the other a representative from engineers without borders (Gabrielle McGill). The careers panel was completed with a diverse range of women with knowledgeable insights into their various engineering career paths.
A big thanks goes out to my mechatronics team, they were all enthusiastic and brought amazing energy and ideas to the day and it wouldn’t have run as well without them.