Women in Engineering Day: Inspiring the next generation of engineers



Heriot-Watt academics and students have inspired more than 360 local primary-aged pupils as part of a week-long celebration and outreach campaign to support International Women in Engineering Day.

The Women's Engineering Society, together with the student society Interconnect, organised nine Future Engineer Workshops at Edinburgh schools throughout this week, ahead of International Women in Engineering Day on Saturday 23 June 2018.

Aimed at Primary 4 pupils and open to all sexes to inspire the next generation of engineers, the Heriot-Watt team visited two schools each day to offer a range of fun and educational hands-on challenges.

Pupil groups were tasked with building a magnet tower, which was assessed based on its height and the number of chocolate coins it could support while a coding competition was brought to life using a Lego City theme. The winning groups receiving medals and all participants receiving a certificate for successfully completing their workshop.

Dr Gabriela Medero, associate professor in Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering at Heriot-Watt University, is one of the chairs of the Women's Engineering Society. She explained:

“We wanted to use this year's International Women in Engineering Day to inspire as many future engineers, of all sexes, to pursue a career in this field. 

“We opened each event by asking the pupils to outline their own perceptions of what an engineer does and then we explained how so many things around them have been created, developed or designed by engineers.

“The pupils, who were aged 8-9 years old, were incredibly enthusiastic and engaged. We're looking forward to delivering more outreach activities of this type over the remainder of 2018.”

Mairi, age 8, who was one of the workshop attendees said at the end of the event: “I want to be an engineer” while Ibrahim, age 9, said: “Engineering is cool!”

The schools taking part included Blackhall Primary School, Nether Currie Primary School, Newcraighall Primary School, Holy Cross Primary School, Roseburn Primary School, St Catherine's Primary School, Pentland Primary School, Fox Covert Primary School and Ratho Primary School.