Robogals workshops encourage girls to consider maths, science careers
Robogals – science workshop to encourage girls to get interested in careers in maths, science and engineering. From left, Skarlett Eastman, and Febe Kuku. Picture: Jonathan CarrollWHEN Robogals Newcastle started conducting school workshops to encourage girls to consider careers in maths, science and engineering, it aimed to reach 400 pupils in its inaugural year.
Fast forward 12 months and the not-for-profit organisation has hit its target more than four times over, with University of Newcastle students of both genders volunteering their time to speak to 1788 girls.
Robogal and second year science student Rachelle Caldwell said the group’s success since its September 2013 inception had been one of the reasons the Robogals Asia Pacific community gave it an award as having made the biggest impact in the region in 2014.
‘‘Now we’re aiming to conduct robotic workshops for at least 2015 girls in 2015,’’ she said.
Ms Caldwell said girls were often raised to consider more traditionally female oriented careers and may not know the breadth of their options until it was too late to study prerequisite subjects.
‘‘When we begin our workshops and ask girls what an engineer is or what they think of science, most girls don’t have that good an idea of what it involves,’’ she said.
‘‘They imagine it’s a man’s job, that it won’t suit them or they can’t picture themselves doing it.’’
Engineers Australia reported in 2012 that female students only made up 14 per cent of places in engineering courses.
‘‘Robogals is all about opening doors for them to consider those roles they might not have thought of before as a real option, so if they want to go into a certain industry they are confident and know there should be no barriers in the way.
‘‘They can do anything they want to do or that they have a passion for, there are no limits as long as they have the drive within themselves to achieve.’’