Our girls spent Monday at the Flinders Tonsley Campus!

On Monday July 4, the year 10 girls of ASMS made the journey to the Tonsley campus of Flinders University to partake in the Inspiring Women in STEM Challenge. The day saw a focus on civil and electrical engineering, with the 58 students given the task to build a functioning hydroelectric turbine out of everyday objects that would be tested using a small flume simulation.

After a brief introduction and outline of the rules from challenge hosts and Flinders Engineering faculty members Vanya Bosiocic and Rocco Zito, the girls were led to the engineering labs to work with mentors in 16 small groups. From using plastic spoons to CDs, they began constructing with the goal to build a small scale hydroelectric wheel. The goal was not just to produce the most energy, but to show sustainability and teamwork in engineering; a field that has a larger ratio of men to women in the workplace.

After three hours of work, testing and measuring via a computer program hooked up to the flume, the results were in! All students got their wheels to move; some better than others. The highest scoring team managed to score an outstanding 2442 energy points: a new record for the program!

After lunch, the students were involved in industry ‘speed dating’, in which they spent 15 minutes talking to women in different scientific industries. From physicists to biomedical engineers, students got an insight into what women can achieve in male dominated industries and how important it is to follow your dreams, as well as where to get their start.  The message from all of these women was clear: you can achieve great things if you are dedicated and it doesn’t matter about your gender as everyone brings something unique and new to their fields.

At the end of the day, the students were gathered to find out the winning group. Team 6 (Jeni Furjan, Hannah Hains, Hawa Hawa and Megan Hannon) took out the top prize for their teamwork and engineering. Teacher Danielle Gillard says the day was empowering and the hands on content was fantastic for the students. “It was great to see the teams work and the faces of the students when their wheels generated energy. I think I lot of students now feel like they can see themselves in these fields and came back to school very inspired by what they experienced that day”.