Participating in the UNSW GIE FEAS Program was a great opportunity to connect with other girls, with whom I share a similar passion for engineering. The program enabled us to participate in hands-on real-world projects facilitated by Engineering World Health, a not-for-profit organisation based in the US. The projects were set in developing countries with challenges to get us thinking about engineering for low-resource communities, whilst learning about biomedical engineering and emerging technologies. Four challenges were available, all of which were very interesting, but it was challenge #2 I found particularly intriguing, which was to protect medical devices from damage during transportation across rough terrain in Nepal. Each stage of the program challenged me in a different way through conducting research, prototyping designs and ultimately creating my own unique solution.

The program was divided into multiple modules with each going through different aspects of the design process, one step at a time. I really appreciated having the program structured like that as it made me feel substantially more comfortable with the workload involved. Each module had summary questions where I was able to post my answers for others to see whilst also learning from the other girls’ responses. Being able to share ideas and communicate with the other participants was amazing and very much one of the greatest aspects of the GIE FEAS Program. 

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It was the final stage of the program I found to be most enjoyable as I saw all the work I had done come together in my video. My design began as a rough sketch on the back of my maths book which over the course of the program I improved and developed into a creative solution I am incredibly proud of. Throughout the program I particularly enjoyed learning how engineering is used to make a positive difference in the world and help those in need. The GIE FEAS Program was so rewarding and a true highlight of my year. 

I also was also lucky enough to participate in the UNSW Engineering Girls Big Day Out, which was an incredible experience. The day began with tours of the Electrical Engineering Building as well as completing a hands-on workshop in the Makerspaces, in which we learnt about laser cutting and 3D printing. These two activities provided great insight into what it is like to study engineering at UNSW. This was followed by an excursion off campus to the offices of WSP, a global engineering consultancy firm. At WSP I learnt about the various fields you can enter with an engineering degree. I had no idea there were so many varied pathways within engineering, and I was very excited about the combination of working both onsite and in an office. To end the day, there was a fantastic networking event back at UNSW which provided me with the opportunity to meet with some of UNSW Engineering’s industry partners and UNSW Engineering academic staff. 

Participating in both these events was not only great fun, but more importantly showed me the amazing support women in engineering have at UNSW.  

For more information about the UNSW GIE FEAS Program and other opportunities available for high school girls interested in STEM, visit the UNSW Girls in Engineering Club.