Media, News, Updates
Latest Posts by Engage
New YLS Website
April 17, 2018
Heads-up everyone! The new website for the amazing Youth Leading in STEM initiative has just gone live!!! For those of you who don’t know, Youth Leading in STEM (or YLS for short) is an educational outreach program that first ran in 2017 that focuses on bringing students from regional areas to the ANU for a series of educational workshops, followed up by a mentorship program. You can find out more at our info page for YLS, or better yet, head over to their swanky new website and give them a ‘Like’ on Facebook 😀 And if you’re wondering who runs YLS, we’re proud to say that one of the best things about YLS is that we get to work closely with our amazing partners at Robogals (ANU), Engineers Without Borders (ACT) and, of course, the core YLS team! The program has also managed to get support from the likes of the Australian National University (ANU) and Inspire Australia, with hopefully many more to come in the future!...
Day Trip to Goulburn
October 5, 2016
On the 9th of September 2016 five Engage: University Outreach volunteers visited students at Goulburn High School and Goulburn South Public School to run a workshop called “floating houses”. Running the workshop were our ANU student volunteers, Kelsie, James and Dom. Tagging along and taking photos/videos was Engage’s media coordinator Skye and executive director Sam. The floating houses workshop comes from one of Engage’s outreach partners Engineers Without Borders (EWB) an organisation aimed at connecting, educating and empowering people through humanitarian engineering. The premise of the workshop; In Cambodia there is a lake called Tonlé Sap that floods every year to fill almost one third of the country. Approximately 1.2 million people living in the greater Tonlé sap area make their living by fishing on the local waters. The ability to keep your house above the rising lake level is of great importance to the local inhabitants. The aim of the EWB workshop: to engineer a “floating house” to be used by the villagers. In groups of 3-4, students had 15-20 minutes to design and build a structure, from limited materials, that could float whilst holding a lot of weight. Goulburn South Public School: Goulburn High School: The items they could use included balloons, plastic cups, cling wrap, foil, paddle pop sticks, straws and rubber bands. Students came up with quite a range of inspired structures from the “Cup Trio” to the “Foil Barge”. At the end of the time limit students’ creations were placed in a tub of water to sink or swim (well…float). Glass pebbles “villagers” were placed in the structures and the one that could hold the most pebbles was the winner! The record for this trip was around 150 pebbles. It was a wonderful day of designing, building and testing some brilliant creations! Our Engage volunteers are looking forward to our next visit to Goulburn High School and Goulburn South Public School....
AISACT Colloquium: Innovation and Collaboration
September 9, 2016
On Thursday the 18th of August our Director of External Relations, Kelsie Long, had the exciting opportunity of attending the Association of Independent Schools of the ACT (AISACT) Colloquium at the Australian National Museum. Here’s what she had to say about her experience: The colloquium’s main aim was to bring together teachers, outreach organisations and other educational partners to instigate engaging discussions around the day’s themes of innovation and collaboration. Through keynote presentations, workshops and plenary events, participants learnt about what is happening in the wider education community and were equipped with methods to transform what is learned into practice within their schools. Naturally I picked all the workshops that involved robots. Robots are slowly making their way into schools and humanoid robots in particular can be a way of connecting with students that are otherwise disinterested or disengaged from more traditional learning. I was very interested to learn more! One of the first speakers of the day, Lora Bance from Brindabella Christian College, encouraged participants to try out Sketch noting which is essentially pictorial note taking or doodling. The challenge: to Sketch notes for the rest of the colloquium. I rose to that challenge and so the rest of this report will consistent of my “Sketch notes”, perhaps you will be inspired to try out doodling for your next lot of notes! Keynote speaker Eric Tsang, talking about “Liquid innovation”: The first workshop, Monica Williams “The impact of humanoid robots on student learning”: The second workshop, Joachim (Jo) Cohen talked about “Inspiring the next generation of innovators with digital technologies”: The third and final workshop, Ross Duncan on “Using EZRobots to engage, encourage and inspire’: My main take away from the day was that one of the biggest challenges faced by schools is the effective integration and implementation of new technology into the classroom. It has to be more than just giving every child a laptop, we need to provide ways these new technologies can be used to engage and challenge students to find innovative solutions to the world’s current and future problems.It is about supporting teachers to gain the skills they need to develop workshops/classes that engage, motivate, challenge and inspire students. This resonates strongly with the work Engage does; bringing hands on workshops to regional primary and secondary students to encourage them to work together, using technology, to solve problems and inspiring them to consider the opportunities that a university education can lead to....
Narooma High School girls getting techie with it
January 30, 2016
A GROUP of Narooma High School students put their hands up to experience a bit of technology fun organised by students from the Australian National University. The ANU engineering and IT students visited the school as part of the “Robogals” project, an international not-for profit student-run organisation that aims to engage schoolgirls in engineering topics from a young age. Student Sam Cheah said the long-term goal was increasing female enrolment in computer science, engineering and technology courses at universities. These courses would give local students a chance to go into a wide range of fields from programming computers to building and designing new machines and structures to even management roles, she said. “Not many people realise that the chief executives of many of the world’s big companies have an engineering background,” Sam said. The primary activity of Robogals was having university student volunteers visit girls in primary and high schools to run LEGO robotics workshops and mentor teams in robotics competitions. In Narooma, the students programmed their LEGO NXT robots to write out “Robogals” on a large piece of paper, before putting the small, wheeled machines through an obstacle course. And it was not just girls as a number of boys from Years 7 to 10 also participated. Since March the ANU students have held Robogals workshops around the ACT and southern NSW, getting much positive feedback. On this latest trip, the workshops were held at high schools at Ulladulla, Batemans Bay, Moruya and Narooma. Australia facing engineering shortage Addressing the shortage of engineering skills in Australia will require targeted policies from the government to attract new engineers and retain existing engineers, according to a new report. The Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee was commissioned by the Senate in November 2011 to look at the problem of the engineering skills shortage in Australia. Its report, The Shortage of Engineering and Related Employment Skills, sets out 12 recommendations to the Australian government on the implications of the crisis and how to tackle it. Whilst no measures refer specifically to chemical engineering, Skills Australia forecasts that 37,000 additional professional and management engineers will be needed by 2016. The actual figure is likely to be much higher because those figures don’t take into account large infrastructure, defence and mining projects scheduled for the next few year, nor do they consider the number of replacing those engineers approaching retirement. The committee blamed a gradual cutback in government-run training schemes and the failure of the private sector to fill the gap. Engineering in Australia has a problem not only with a skills gap in the existing workforce, but with difficulties in recruiting candidates for specific vacancies too. The proportion of vacancies filled in 2011 was only 41% and companies are increasingly turning to recruiting from overseas on temporary visas. Engineering graduates are in high demand from other sectors, and are lured away by high salaries. There is also a shortage of women in the sector. The 12 recommendations include seeking the advice of Australia’s chief scientist on how to develop science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) courses, and promote STEM throughout the states. The government should consult with the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency to work out why so many people leave the profession after training. It should work with industry to ensure university courses are suitable and extend supported places for domestic students. The government should look at ways to encourage employers to offer both work experience and graduate training programmes, and encourage older engineers and women to remain in, or return to the workforce. Interestingly, it also suggested creating senior technical engineering roles in the Australian public service. This would mean highly qualified engineers could continue to progress in their careers, and ensure the government had the appropriate advice when purchasing engineering infrastructure. Matt Stalker, Communications manager at the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), the global membership organisation for chemical engineers, says: “The situation in Australia largely mirrors that of UK chemical engineering a decade ago. That skills shortage has now largely been solved, particularly with regard to the number of students studying chemical engineering at university but it needed industry, academia and IChemE to come together and develop a clear plan. Only by raising public awareness of the career opportunities available to engineering graduates and the key role they play in society will this problem be solved. There is no quick fix.” First published as: http://www.naroomanewsonline.com.au/story/191656/narooma-high-school-girls-getting-techie-with-it/...
Engineering graduate wins top ANU student prize
January 30, 2016
An engineering graduate with a passion for reaching out to school students has won the University’s most prestigious prize for undergraduates, the Tillyard prize. Samantha Cheah’s passion found an outlet in the Robogals program which encourages girls to pursue science, technology and engineering. But when the equity program supporting Robogals was shut down she jumped in and started a program to fund it and other outreach programs. “I decided not to wait until I had grown up to do things,” Samantha said. “I’ve learned to not underestimate how much a group of young people can do, even uni or high school students, with the amount of passion and determination they have.” Samantha’s outreach program, Engage, has now supported three different outreach organisations to visit 626 students at 15 different schools in New South Wales and ACT. It has a volunteer staff of five students. “What I’m trying to do is make sure kids can make informed choices about whether to go to university or not, especially in regional areas where there might not be a university,” she said. To balance her workload, Samantha was involved with the ANU Soccer Club – although as well as playing she ended up serving on the committee. “It’s a great way to meet people, and I’ve got a lot of support and caring from the Club,” Samantha said. Her soccer community proved invaluable when Samantha’s mental health started to deteriorate. “When I came across mental illness myself I didn’t know something was wrong and to address it,” she said. “I was lucky I had a couple of people, such as a soccer coach, who knew about how to manage it, and I ended up in hospital diagnosed with bipolar disorder.” It took two years for Samantha to feel she was back on top of things, but she is optimistic about the future. “I’ve enjoyed my time at ANU, learning, growing and developing,” she said. Now she has finished her degree, Samantha has big plans to grow Engage beyond a voluntary organisation, and has found mentors to help her do this. “My advice to students is to find a mentor, someone whose job you’d like to have and catch up with them every now and then. Their wisdom and experience balances out the hot-headedness of youth,” she said. The Tillyard Prize is celebrating its 75th year in 2015. It is awarded to an undergraduate student whose personal qualities and contribution to University life has been outstanding. It was first awarded in 1940, by the precursor of ANU, Canberra University College. First published as: https://cecs.anu.edu.au/news/engineering-graduate-wins-top-anu-student-prize...
Media, News, Updates
Youth Leading in STEM