STEM Young Women in STEM

On the 5th of June 2019, a small group of Year 10 girls attended the Young Women in STEM excursion. This event was held at Adelaide University and allowed us to participate in many activities that assisted us in gaining a better perspective of the different careers within the STEM field. At the beginning of the day, we were introduced to a young engineer, Tahlia Sklifoff, who talked to us about her journey and experience, studying and working in STEM fields. This was a fantastic introduction to the day and broadened our understanding of the possibilities within the industry.

Firstly, we participated in an activity where we used simple card games to model complex problem solving and probability strategies. Two mathematical science professors talked to us about the different ways of thinking about simple card games. They taught us to utilise certain strategies that resulted in a win almost every time.

Following morning tea, we had the opportunity to work in pairs to construct a speaker using wires, magnets, paper plates and cups. With the help of an Adelaide University professor, we were able to connect the speakers we made to an electric guitar and observe what factors made some speakers work better than others.

We then made our way through a busy study area, where we were provided with a fresh insight into what life in University involves. We were taken to meet a group of university students who were part of Adelaide University’s Motorsport team. We participated in an activity which gave us an insight into what mechanical engineers do. We were given a budget, and then were required to purchase weights and other materials such as sticky tape and plasticine, to add weight to the car. We worked in small groups to try to figure out the best way to arrange the weights in order for the car to travel faster than the others down a ramp. We got to race the cars against each other and were taught about how the distribution of weights affects the speed at which the car travels.

For the last activity we worked in groups to create a structure that was earthquake proof using materials such as wooden skewers, tape and styrofoam balls. We were challenged to design and construct a tall structure that could carry multiple weights and stay in one piece while on an earthquake simulator.

Overall, the experience was very worthwhile and provided us with a deeper understanding of the many possibilities for women in STEM careers. We were provided with the opportunity to learn from a group of university professors and students, and also participate in hands-on activities.

Jaime Kelly and Sophie Rundle