Year seven and eight girls at Burgess Hill School for Girls recently immersed themselves in the world of engineering designed to inspire them about STEM subjects which, as a gender, they are nationally under-represented.
Ten inspirational engineering role models facilitated small group discussions exploring gender stereotyping. The discussions looked at myths and facts about girls and women in STEM, how these subjects connect with issues that girls care about and their importance as a gateway into a wide range of interesting jobs and careers.
Sofia Comper-Cavanna, year eight, said: “This has really opened my eyes to the creative side of engineering.’
Keynote speaker Dawn Elson described her passion for engineering during a career as an engineering officer in the RAF, as Head of Engineering at Gatwick, and in her current role as Business Transformation Leader at the airport.
The girls were then able to explore a variety of engineering based roles in turn through activities and discussion with engineers from Edwards Vacuum, Rockwell Collins, Atkins UK, University of Brighton, RedR Humanitarian Aid, Thales and Gatwick Airport.
Girls watch a flight simulator
Mrs Katren Bishop, event co-ordinator, said: ‘The engineers, the majority of whom were female, enabled the girls to appreciate how skills such as imagination, design, perseverance, teamwork and a wish to help people are key attributes for an engineer, and how careers in the field lead to enviable job satisfaction, variety and opportunities for travel.’
Isabelle Flower, year eight, said: “It has made me realise that engineering is not just about fixing things, but it is about being creative and making a difference!’
Birdie Griffiths, year seven, added: ‘I have been inspired to become an engineer!”
The girls produced individual responses and suggestions about how to promote STEM subjects further.