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Power of Engineering day hopes to get girls to stop dodging STEM subjects

By Ainsleigh Crisp

An event facilitated by women, for girls, Charles Sturt Universities inaugural Power of Engineering day welcomed Year 8 – 10 students for across the Central West to campus to learn about opportunities in STEM.

The event was hosted by CSU Engineering and brought together many well-known female engineering professionals for different areas in the industry. The event encouraged the girls in attendance to discover the different disciplines in engineering while having the opportunity to learn in an award winning study space.

While the course is still in it’s first year at CSU, the day aimed to show the girls that the industry isn’t only for males.

Lecturer in Engineering, Dr Andrea Goncher, said “One of the challenges of recruiting young women into engineering is helping them to see themselves as engineers”.

The program provided the girls with real-life problems for the students to solve while giving them the key tips you need for a career in engineering, collaborative work and human centered design.

They spent the day making soda straw rockets, floating clay boats and purifying water.

By attending days such as the Power of Engineering, students are opened up to the stimulating and valuable career that are available through studying STEM subjects.

Research into STEM has shown girls are less likely to choose subjects such as year 12 advanced math as they don’t feel comfortable studying with their males peers. Experts say the decrease in students entering STEM fields is recognised as a major default in the future of Australia’s knowledge-based economy.

Data from the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute shows the proportion of students studying Year 12 Advanced Math has declined by 32 per cent from 1995 to 2015 with the proportion of girls studying the subject less than 7 per cent.

For most states across Australia, mathematics is not compulsory to study throughout your Higher School Certificate; in fact in the past 17 years the amount of students choosing to study math has dropped by more than 20 per cent.