Anika is a graduate Hardware Engineer who is actively involved in the STEM activities with the younger generation. She shared her experience as a STEM volunteer.
IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) is one of the largest international professional organisations that focuses on inspiring girls to follow their passion for STEM subjects.
Anika has been actively volunteering with the group since her university studies. Recently, she has travelled with the IEEE WIE alongside nine other industry volunteers to Kangaroo Island for its annual regional STEM outreach event. We sit down with Anika to discuss her experience of meeting her peers and school students and helping with the workshops.
What was the aim of the event?
We facilitated various STEM workshops and gave presentations on further education and career pathways. The 3-day STEM event was hosted at the Kingscote campus of the Kangaroo Island Community Education School, with 60 girls attending from all three campuses, ranging from year 7 to 10. More than 240 students, ranging from year 7 to 12 (boys and girls) attended in person and virtually our joint career advice session with teachers.
It was fantastic to see a high level of engagement and enthusiasm from both students and teachers throughout the workshops. Young girls dived into often complex topics such as C programming, robotics, and electronics, and got excited about any new challenges the workshops threw at them. They designed and created assistive devices for rehabilitation applications, learnt about DC motors and holograms, designed suspension systems for a rover and much more.
What was the main takeaway for the participants?
I hope the biggest takeaway for the students attending the workshops was that STEM is not scary and anyone can do it. As a very diverse group of volunteers, we could all present our own unique stories to create conversations around various career pathways. At the end of every workshop we shared stories of various notable women in STEM who made significant contributions to their field.
During our wrap-up session, many girls approached me and shared how they were inspired to do STEM in the future.
Why events like this are important?
Interactions like this further reinforce how important it is for us to continue STEM outreach activities, as they have the power to build confidence in young, capable women. I plan to be involved again for next year’s regional event and continue to play my part in creating a diverse and vibrant community of STEM professionals.