UTS and Tech Girls have partnered up to host the Girls in STEM Design Challenge. Girls in Years 5-8 are invited to the full-day, free virtual event this Wednesday. The challenge? Come up with ways to help improve our lives while social distancing!
The big, bold ideas to help us make the world a better place don’t just have to come from grown-ups!
This Wednesday (22 April) girls in Years 5-8 are invited to take part in the Girls in STEM Design Challenge where, with the help of mentors, they’ll be asked to come up with ways to improve people’s lives while social distancing.
Hosted by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the Tech Girls Movement, the event is free and will take place in a Tech Girls Virtual Classroom (register here).
Sisters Eva and Mia, in Years 5 and 8 from Sydney, will be taking part in the challenge on Wednesday. While they say social isolation hasn’t been all bad for them – they can still FaceTime their friends and have more time to practice violin – they understand other people might be having a harder time and could benefit from innovative solutions.
Eva is thinking about how to maintain support for people who have to work close to people, while Mia says she would like to be able to help older people and people with compromised immune systems.
Women in STEM role models
The live, online conversation will include some awesome Women in STEM role models:
- Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen, creator of the Tech Girls Movement
- Jacqueline Tate, neuroscientist and Superstar of STEM
- Dr Eva Cheng, multimedia engineer and humanitarian
- Dr Catherine Ball, environmental scientist and Superstar of STEM
While Mia and Eva come from a STEM family – both their parents are engineers – Eva says she finds it helpful to meet other women in STEM. “It’s reassuring to know there are people who can make it up there,” she says.
“Everyone should be treated equally and no one should be left out, everyone should take part,” adds Mia.
They’re dad, Stuart Perry is an engineering professor at UTS. He says it’s great to have these opportunities for his daughters to participate in STEM. “When I was at university in the 1990s, there were very few women in the engineering degree, but now there are a lot more, so the trend is good,” he says.
The event will be facilitated by Lauren Black, the Program Coordinator of Women in Engineering and IT at UTS.
Following on from the Challenge, the students will be able to finalise and make a video about their ideas.
Associate Professor Arti Agrawal, Director, Women in Engineering and IT, UTS, says the Challenge will offer girls a first-hand experience of the power of STEM to solve problems.
“Young people bring curiosity and imagination, critical for dealing with problems like social distancing in the COVID-19 pandemic,” she says.
“By engaging them in creating solutions, girls can experience first-hand how STEM knowledge and skills, and analytical and design thinking, can help society through such crises. The aim is to inspire a new generation of female engineers, technologists and scientists helping to address gender inequity.”
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Author: Gemma Chilton
Gemma has a degree in journalism from the University of Technology, Sydney and spent a semester studying environmental journalism in Denmark. She has been writing about science and engineering for over a decade.