Nearly 60 young Girl Guides from across the tropical northern Queensland region experienced a night of STEM activities and inspiration.
Organised by the Engineers Australia Cairns Committee in collaboration with James Cook University, BAE Systems, and Nova Systems, the evening gave young women an opportunity to learn about the many facets of the engineering profession through exciting projects.
The Cairns Committee will continue to host STEM nights to ignite passion about engineering among youth groups in the region.
If you are keen to volunteer for these events, please fill out our Queensland volunteers expression of interest form.
Nastassja Regan is on the Cairns Committee and is also a Girl Guides leader. She helped to organise the night alongside committee member Nick Hubbard and Stephanie Baker, a lecturer at JCU.
“Currently universities and industry are seeing a significant drop in take up of engineering and other STEM fields. This is severely limiting our workforce at a time when the work is increasing, so it is imperative to expand our workforce in every way we can,” Regan said.
“Nights like this help show children what engineering is and how it can be fun and exciting.”
During the Girl Guides STEM night the girls first explored the magic of making glow-in-the-dark jelly with tonic water. They learnt about luminous properties and saw a few other products such as scorpion and pollen illuminate.
Then the guides were split into age groups. Younger attendees had a gravity-defying experience with an egg drop challenge and experimented with parachutes to learn all about force.
Older attendees had the chance to create soil moisture sensors with Arduino boards, connecting to learnings about sustainable and software engineering.
“I think there are a lot of young people out there that would be amazing engineers and I want them to know that it's a great option for them. Getting females into engineering is also very important to me as we are still so underrepresented unfortunately due to an old culture that still hasn't gone,” Regan said.
“I would have loved to have a STEM night as a child so to me it is very important to offer that opportunity to as many as possible. Therefore, I am keen to keep running these events and encouraging young minds to think about STEM careers.”