Girl Power alum and current mentor Millie a’Beckett explains what the recent Girl Power program facilitated by Trinity College was all about, and how it’s getting girls interested in engineering and IT.
The Girl Power in Engineering and IT program is facilitated by the University of Melbourne to promote the involvement of girls in engineering and IT degrees and careers. The four-year program follows girls from years 9 to 12 and provides work experience and mentoring with current female engineering and IT students at the University of Melbourne.
The program is initiated in Year 9 with a four-day camp in July, staying at Trinity College, where the girls are exposed to different engineering and IT faculties and areas of study.
The camp is heavily focused on interactive workshops to get the girls excited about engineering and IT, and is also a fantastic way of exposing them to women studying in these fields. The aim of the program is to combat the gender imbalance in the engineering and IT industries, including research and education.
By exposing scientifically minded girls – who otherwise may not consider these pathways as an option – to things like software engineering, VR workshops, electrical engineering, and hands-on classes at the Telstra Creator Space, the program aims to eradicate any stigma that the engineering and IT fields are inherently masculine. The program also connects students to female mentors and role models across all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths, and, importantly, allows them to grow their own network of likeminded girls.
This year, a group of girls stayed at Trinity College and explored the University each day to get a feel for studying science at Melbourne Uni.
A highlight of the camp was the careers panel in the Gateway building theatre. The panel was led by Professor Sandra Kentish, head of the school of chemical and biomedical engineering. She conducted an inspiring discussion with four female professionals with careers in chemistry research, ‘ethical hacking’, network engineering, aerospace engineering, and biomedical technological innovation.
The camp was a resounding success, and the beginning of a much longer program to provide the students with the tools, connections and confidence to help them pursue engineering and IT study pathways and careers.
By Millie a’Beckett, Girl Power mentor and Girl Power alum (2016–2019)