It has already been an eventful 2023 for women engineers at UNSW Sydney. Over the first two weeks of March alone, two fantastic events were held for women engineers, helping them make new connections, celebrate successes and find inspiration from fellow women in engineering professions.

An International Women’s Day (IWD) brunch organised by the student-run Women in Engineering Society (WIESoc) and funded by the UNSW Engineering Faculty’s Women in Engineering program was held on Thursday the 2nd of March at Hyde Hacienda in Circular Quay. To support the 2023 IWD theme of ‘Embracing Equity’, guest speakers Betty Pan from UGL and Mika Ta from SYSTRA attended the brunch, sharing valuable insights from their career journeys. As well as describing the hurdles they faced as women in STEM and how they managed those hurdles, they highlighted the role all members of the global community can play to combat the prejudice facing women in the engineering industry.

WIESoc president Regina Huang said that for the 6th year in a row, all student tickets sold out, demonstrating the value of providing an opportunity for students to build friendships and expand their networks.

“Having attended this event two years in a row, it is always so wonderful to see and be surrounded by all these women in STEM fields, and the positive energy we create as we celebrate and continue to drive the changes towards a more inclusive and equitable future,”

A string quartet provided entertainment between the guest speakers and the morning event concluded with a delicious brunch and plenty of time for networking. This year WIESoc also focused on nurturing career pathways, providing an industry portfolio pamphlet which gave students insight into the name and role of all industry representatives who were attending the event. 

Less than a week later, on Wednesday the 8th of March, the Faculty’s Women in Engineering program held its first ‘Coffee Check-in Chat’ for 2023. Designed as an informal way to meet new people and check in with the women in engineering community, these events are held on campus every few weeks and are a highlight for many within the Women in Engineering community.

Held on International Women’s Day, this particular coffee check-in was run slightly earlier than usual to allow people to attend the multitude of other IWD events on campus. 34 students and a handful of professional and academic staff stopped by throughout the morning for a hot drink, a Tim-Tam and a chat.

Women in Engineering Manager Debbie Vadasz said that for the inaugural event of the year, first-year students were particularly encouraged to attend to access support for their transition to UNSW and connections to other students.

“Our coffee check-ins are a great networking opportunity, and we find the first one of the year especially useful for commencing students in flexible first year courses,” said Debbie.

“New students were able to chat with more senior students who may be studying in a discipline they have an interest in. This enables the first-year students to get better insight into whether it is an area they want to pursue.”

While the coffee check-in events are targeted to the Women in Engineering community, all are welcome and male students often attend. The next Coffee Check-in Chat is planned for Week 7 on Thursday 30th March from 10.30am until 11.30am at Coffee on Campus, with the last for the term taking place on Thursday 13th April.

To stay up to date with all upcoming events and opportunities for women in engineering at UNSW, take a look at the Women in Engineering website.