Schools event showcases engineering career opportunities for women

School students participating in engineering activity 

An innovative educational event will demonstrate the exciting career opportunities that are available for women in the field of engineering.

On Tuesday 4 July 2017, Engineer's Australia is holding its fourth annual Experience It! student conference at Western Sydney University's Parramatta South campus.

Girls in years 8-10 in NSW high schools have been invited to Experience It! – where they can participate in interactive engineering workshops and get hands-on experience at being an engineer.

Dr Olivia Mirza from the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics at Western Sydney University is Chair of the Engineers Australia for Western Sydney Regional Group and Publication Coordinator for Women in Engineering Sydney Division.

Dr Mirza often goes out to high schools across Western Sydney to introduce students to the diverse career opportunities that are available in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

"I ask the students to close their eyes and imagine an engineer, and they always describe a man wearing a hard hat. Young girls do not envisage for themselves a career in science or technology – and that needs to change," says Dr Mirza.

Baxter the robot Students will meet 'Baxter the Humanoid Robot' at the event.

Dr Mirza says, when she meets with high school students, she explains the real-world implications of a career in engineering in a way that resonates with them.

"I tell the girls about the buildings and shopping centres in their local areas that have been designed by women – and they are blown away. Suddenly they realise that it's something that they are able to do as well."

At the Experience It! event, Western Sydney University will be running a mechanical engineering workshop, where students will have the opportunity to view 'Unlimited,' the University's 2015 Solar Car, and also design and construct their own mini solar car.

The students will also be able to meet 'Baxter' – the University's humanoid robot – and test their driving skills in a virtual driving simulator.

At the event, students will get the chance to hear from university representatives as well as industry experts. Managers from Sydney Motorway Corporation and WestConnex – who sponsor the event – will also be available to answer questions.

2015 Solar Car 'Unlimited The University's 2015 Solar Car 'Unlimited'.

Women in Engineering Sydney chair Varuni Fernando says the workshop hopes to get more girls interested in studying engineering.

"This is about opening an education window to the next generation of our women engineers and showing them the endless and exciting pathways a job in the field can bring," says Ms Fernando.

"Students get the chance to do team based workshops in their areas of interest. We also have booths with information about different engineering opportunities and some leading women engineers present to answer questions about their own experiences."

WHAT: Experience It! Workshop for girls in Years 8-10
WHEN: 8am - 3.30pm Tuesday July 4th 2017
WHERE: Auditorium, Building EE, Parramatta South campus, Western Sydney University, Corner of James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road, Rydalmere.


3 July 2017

Danielle Roddick, Senior Media Officer

Engineers Australia Media Contact, Catherine Garrett: 0467 003 866