Thursday, May 19, 2022
NewsUniversity event aims to get more girls taking up male-dominated subjects

University event aims to get more girls taking up male-dominated subjects

A SCOTTISH university is connecting with local school pupils to encourage more girls to pursue science subjects.

Focussed on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), students had the opportunity to engage with industry speakers and try some hands-on activities, including decorating concrete moulds.

Run by Dundee University, in partnership with local charity Empowerment Academy, girls from Victoria Park Primary School are coming to campus on four consecutive Mondays to learn about the industry.

Dundee University is engaging girls in STEM subjects - News
P6 girls from Victoria Park Primary School are visiting Dundee University to learn more about STEM subjects.

Statistics published via STEM Women, highlight just how underrepresented women are in key science disciplines, making up 24% of the STEM workforce as of 2019.

This figure is projected to rise to 29% by 2030, with women still at a significant minority in the field.

Through this scheme, girls from primary six were able to meet women who have forged careers in engineering and learn how to mix colourful concrete, recycling toner powder from printer cartridges in the process.

In addition to these practical activities, the pupils were shown some of the research underway at the university.

Dr Margi Vilnay, School of Science and Engineering lecturer said: “Tomorrow’s Engineers Week is a brilliant opportunity to showcase what engineers do, what they did in the past and what we can do together in the future.

“Collaborations like this are the way forward. We’re showing them that engineering is creative and fun, and it’s also all around us.

“To get these enthusiastic girls involved in engineering at this young age is just fantastic. It’s so important for society.”

Dundee University is engaging girls in STEM subjects - News
On Monday, P6 girls learned about concrete mixing, with recycled printer toner powder used to make it colourful.

Jill Duke from the Empowerment Academy for Girls organised the visits and echoed Dr Vilnay.

She said: “This is our first STEM event and it has been absolutely fantastic.

“Last year when we were exploring careers with the girls, we looked at what differences we can make in the world and what roles we have to do to make these changes. STEM subjects came up in that conversation.

“Their curiosities show it’s real learning. When you make it engaging, hands-on and practical at a level they understand, you can completely open their minds.”

Having just completed their first visit, the girls have three more sessions in the coming weeks, which will include explorations of biomedical and mechanical engineering

In their fourth and final week of the initiative, an engineer from Balfour Beatty will be offering a virtual site visit.

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