An awesome (free!) winter engineering school for Indigenous students

Indigenous students stand inside a human brain simulation

Are you an Indigenous student keen to learn more about engineering, but unsure where to start? Victorian Indigenous Engineering Winter School program, VIEWS, is a winter school designed to show you what the world of engineering has to offer – at university and beyond. 

High school student Ben Ogden had the opportunity to attend the program in 2018. He reckons it’s a valuable experience for students to get stuck in to some hands-on engineering, and figure out their future path along the way.

Keen to give the program a go? VIEWS is open to year 11 and 12 students and takes place from 6th-13th of July 2019. Applications are now open, and best of all the program is totally free for successful candidates!

Ben’s experience of VIEWS

My name is Benjamin Ogden and in July 2018 I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to participate in the VIEWS program with 26 other Indigenous high school students.

I found out about the VIEWS program after my school was visited by The University of Melbourne, who were seeking Indigenous students interested in STEM, and particularly engineering. As I have a strong passion for both maths and physics, I was immediately interested in the program. It also helped that I was interested in completing my tertiary education in Melbourne.

The VIEWS program experience

Ben Ogden receives his certificate of completion from Professor Langton Patron of the University of Melbourne VIEWS program
Ben with Professor Langton Patron of VIEWS

When starting the program, I was mainly interested in seeing what courses the various universities had to offer, learning how they operated, and learning what university life would be like. Throughout the course of the week, I participated in numerous activities at RMIT, The University of Melbourne, Monash University, Swinburne University, and at Arup for an industry visit.

Every single day there were things to be learned, friends to be made, and fun to be had. One of my favourite activities was the app inventor and robot programming session at the University of Melbourne. These activities required me to use critical and creative thinking, and to collaborate with the other members of my group.

Programming, flight simulators and bionics

Kids wearing VIEWS jumpers at computer screens working on apps

I learnt a lot about how apps can be programmed, and what I could potentially do if I pursue software engineering. Another activity I enjoyed was the Engineering Without Borders prosthetic leg workshop. This was a competition we held to see who could create the strongest prosthetic leg, with a budget on how many materials we used. This meant we had to maintain our costs and make maximise our strength and stability with limited funds. This activity changed my perspective on engineering as I could see how it can be used to help people in need, and that without engineers our modern world and luxuries would not be possible.

Another activity we participated in was the flight simulator at Swinburne University. This activity was fun as I always saw aerospace engineering as a potential course I wanted to do. Throughout the one week camp, we had four mentors who were Indigenous students currently studying in university. They helped me gain a lot of insight into what courses I would be interested in, what classes are like, and how to get internships and careers after university. I had many discussions with them about the transition from secondary school to university, their workloads in university, and what it was like being away from home.

Keen to give VIEWS a go?

Overall, I would recommend the VIEWS program to other Indigenous students as it provides engaging and fun activities based around engineering and gives insight into what university life will be like. The VIEWS program has inspired me to study engineering after completing secondary school and has helped me make friends with other students from across Australia and New Zealand who I still keep in contact with today.

Head to the website to find out more and enrol for the 2019 program. 

Eliza Brockwell

Author: Eliza Brockwell

Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.


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