Empowering Future Engineers

Women in Engineering (WEN), a student-led network at the University of Auckland builds connections between women in engineering, including students and whānau. WEN organised two workshops for Year 9 STEAM students on 1 August to inspire the next generation of engineers and break stereotypes. The workshops highlighted real-world engineering applications.

Members of the WEN team, including Westlake alumnae Hala Barakat, Sophia Lee, and Ella Wilson, all aspiring female engineers, shared their journeys into engineering. These budding engineers divulged the factors influencing their career choices and illuminated their meaningful participation in the Women in Engineering programme.

The focal point of this inspiring session was the ‘Aqualibrium’ workshop. Our students eagerly immersed themselves in designing and constructing an intricate water distribution network using pipes. With meticulous calculations of flow rates, our future engineers ensured that communal tanks were replenished simultaneously, guaranteeing equitable water distribution throughout the community. This hands-on experience ignited sparks of ingenuity and underscored the significance of collaboration and innovation in engineering and its real-world application.

“We used two defined types of pipes: red pipes with a slightly greater diameter and blue pipes with a slightly smaller diameter. In groups, we used these pipes to construct a water pipe system aimed at supplying water to three villages situated in different locations. Our task involved calculating the variation between the maximum and minimum water flow (measured in millimetres) to determine the average water delivery to each village. This was a wonderful experience.” Nehansa Wijewardana.

The second session involved students using the engineering method to design an innovative machine to serve teenagers returning home after difficult school days – envisioning a delightful dessert awaiting them. Through collaborative synergy, these individual visions converged into an exceptional collective concept.

It is important to inspire our future generation into engineering and to break stereotypes.