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  • (from left) Anna Michael, Laurel Griffiths, and Karen Lee, from Indooroopilly State High School enjoyed the city planning exercise on the Power of Engineering day.

QUT em-powers Yr 9&10 female students to consider engineering

09 March 2012

More than 100 female Brisbane high school students celebrated International Women's Day by investigating engineering as a future career at Queensland University of Technology.

The Power of Engineering event, organised by the Queensland Government Office for Women, was designed to encourage the girls to consider an engineering career and show them first-hand the diverse opportunities in the field, especially in the energy and resources sectors.

The Year 9 and 10 girls tested water filtration, renewable energy and materials strength in workshops, before getting a first-hand look at civil, electrical and mechanical engineering in motion at Brisbane sites including:

  • Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA),
  • Caltex refinery
  • Brisbane City Hall restoration site
  • Legacy Way Tunnel
  • Brisbane Metropolitan Traffic Management Centre
  • Laser Central.

Australia's 2011 Young Engineer of the Year and associate director of professional technical and management support services firm AECOM, Emma Charlton and other successful female engineers shared their career experiences.

AECOM water resources engineer and QUT graduate Felicity Briody organised the event and said a mix of men and women on engineering projects was important because they often displayed different thinking processes.

"Girls need to know what engineering is really about and it can give you the power to change your world," Ms Briody said.

"Women on project teams are a win for the culture and performance of that team. They can bring a new or different perspective to a problem which in my experience can lead to new or more effective solutions to challenges.

"My high school physics teacher suggested engineering to me. If he didn't, I don't think I would have ever considered it. It seems women traditionally don't think about engineering and I am passionate about getting this message to high school students and change the myths about engineering.

"Australia is desperately short of engineers in all fields and we know that young women make talented and innovative engineers."

The Power of Engineering is an initiative by the Women in Engineering Queensland and the Queensland Government Office for Women, through the Girls in Hard Hats program. It is supported by AECOM, which provides technical and management services to transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government markets.

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