Two female engineering students have just returned from an exciting outreach trip in the Kimberley region as part of the UWA Girls in Engineering (GiE) outreach program.
Both in their third year of an Engineering Science major, Darlene D’Mello (Electrical Engineering) and Aaymen Khan (Software Engineering) were selected to represent UWA at Broome Senior High School from 25-28 June. They shared their passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as help raise aspirations for higher education.
“This was an eye-opening insight into regional life,” Darlene said, “Aaymen and I were able to give back to this community and speak about our passion for engineering and diversity. Both boys and girls quickly understood that engineering is for everyone, and that it’s about making the world a better place.”
Aaymen Khan said, “It was incredibly rewarding to see the students be inspired by the activities we carried out. They carried a sense of curiosity and passion that I think is so important for engagement in STEM-related fields and higher education.”
The fun and interactive GiE presentations explored the diverse career pathways in engineering and showed students how maths and science can combine to solve problems in our world. Topics included biomimicry, the idea of technology inspired by nature, and project managing the mining and rehabilitation process of a fictional mine site.
GiE Coordinator, Madeline Hermawan, said that this was the first time GiE had conducted regional sessions, thanks to Rio Tinto’s support who have been foundational sponsors of the program since 2014. The Perth metropolitan-based program aims to address low numbers of females in STEM fields by breaking stereotypes.
“It is fantastic to see the commitment that Rio Tinto have made with UWA to ensure that under-represented groups in society are exposed to the wonderful opportunities in STEM,” Madeline said. “This was a valuable experience for our UWA students and for the students in Broome. We were able to discuss why diversity and opportunity in all forms makes more productive and equitable teams in the real world.”
UWA’s equity outreach department, Aspire UWA, led the trip as part of their ongoing relationship in the Kimberley region to inspire and inform students on the opportunities that come with tertiary education, particularly for those who may not have been considering further study.
Aspire UWA’s Bronwen Veale continued the STEM focus in her sessions ‘Code To Your Future’, where students learn to work in teams and program a Sphero robot ‘student’ through a UWA campus. Current UWA Psychology student, SIS and Aspire UWA ambassador, Mikayla Garstone returned to her high school to assist in sessions and raise aspirations within her community.
Overall, the group conducted 25 classroom sessions, engaging around 400 girls and boys in Years 7-10.
Outside of the classroom, UWA Sport’s Ian Grady and Jill Saunders assisted with the proceedings at the Kimberley Cup sports carnival, an annual event which sees schools from across the Kimberley region travel to Broome.
The trip was made possible through an ongoing partnership between the Faculty of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences, Aspire UWA, the School of Indigenous Studies, UWA Sport, and University Hall to engage schools, community, alumni and industry throughout the Kimberley region.
Madeline Hermawan (Outreach Coordinator, UWA Faculty of Engineering Mathematical Sciences) (+61 8) 6488 7886