Year 7 STEM Day

Posted on May 18, 2024


Girls had the exciting opportunity to explore the world of engineering during this week’s STEM Day! Mixing a hands-on design challenge and an incredibly engaging talk from the President of the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), Tanya de Hoog, it was a great success in introducing girls to a sector with a national trend of underrepresenting women.

Upper 3 (Year 7) took on the challenge to design, build and present on a new stadium for a specific Olympic sporting event and a tower for the Olympic Park. Girls were briefed on the significance of these venues as a focal point for the whole event, as well as being prompted to consider how they could be constructed for the benefit of the local population and in the most energy-efficient way with the least environmental impact. Teams blew judges away with their ingenuity and positive attitude: despite only using resources such as paper, tape, string and other craft materials, they created some truly excellent models meeting the specifications of being at least a metre tall and capable of carrying a load of two kilograms from its highest point.

Following this, Lower 5 (Year 10) and Lower 6th (Year 12) girls heard from IStructE President Tanya about her career journey. A chance comment from her chemistry teacher who said “you should be an engineer” set her on the engineering path, and it is now her aim to ensure that students, particularly young women, are informed about careers in engineering. She discussed some of her projects, the majority of which have involved building large stadia including the closable roof for Centre Court at Wimbledon. She also described how engineers save lives through their designs, citing an example of a bridge that she designed for an isolated rural community where, previously, people had been drowning when attempting to cross the river during the rainy season.

She finished by taking numerous questions from inspired students, so much so that they were queuing up to talk to her beyond the end of the school day!