The WE team endeavour to ensure that women choosing to study engineering at UQ are warmly welcomed and supported from the very beginning of their journey. Our first point of contact is a congratulations call (the day) they receive their offer to study engineering, followed by our flagship WE welcome event in Orientation Week where the students get to meet their female cohort and our team.

The Women in Engineering Program was supported by 25 passionate student leaders this year, who are current engineering students across all six specialisations. They are involved with all our events and initiatives, and while it is a voluntary position, they have the opportunity to develop leadership, communication and teamwork skills through interaction with high school students, teachers, parents and university students. They also gain unique professional development opportunities through networking and mentoring with industry representatives.

Mentoring with a difference

Thank you to our program partners who were involved in the second year of the mentoring program, an invaluable developmental opportunity for our student leadership team to connect with an engineering professional, gain industry insights and build on their confidence and employability. We plan to run the program for the new student leadership team in 2022, and are excited to grow our pool of valuable industry mentors from our new sponsors.

Based on feedback received, we endeavour to run more workshops for our mentees including an opportunity for industry guests to present on different topics, as well as hosting a networking event inviting all mentors and mentees.

The WE Program offered a mentoring program over the past two years with some of our industry sponsors. I was fortunate to be mentored by two inspirational females, who challenged my perspectives, believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, guided me, and answered any questions I have had about industry and my career. Through mentoring I have developed personally and professionally and am so thankful for the opportunity. I would like to thank all the mentors who have given up their time to mentor a student and to my mentors specifically for shaping me into the person I am now.

Student leader 2020 and 2021.

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Buddy Program

We initiated the Buddy Program in Semester 1 with the aim to support first year female students through their transition from high school to university, as well as a mentoring opportunity for the leaders to give back to their cohort and provide guidance and friendship. The program saw 46 first year students interested to participate, and were matched with our 25 leaders, with casual opportunities provided and prompted throughout the year to meet over coffee.

Feedback from our student leaders varied from successful matches and catch ups, to those who never met their buddy despite reaching out and checking in throughout the semester. We plan to run the program again in 2022, and would ensure there is genuine interest from the commencing female cohort, and build on it by providing more structured meet ups including a meet your buddy welcome, and allocated drop in sessions at the First Year Engineering Learning Centre, so that groups of first year students can come together and chat with our student leaders rather than a one on one match. 

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Shadow an engineer

The Women in Engineering Program is founded on a basic concept that ‘you cannot be what you cannot see’. This year we introduced a Shadow an Engineer initiative. Thanks to our industry partner Ergon Energy and Energex two current electrical engineering students experienced first-hand, what a day in the life of a power engineer entailed. 

I was very impressed by the enthusiasm and interest they applied in their activity and even more impressed by the professionalism of their presentation. I thoroughly enjoyed having Chloe and Esandi join us. They’ve set a very high bar for future Women in Engineering students to strive for.

Ergon Energy and Energex host.

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Collaboration with student societies

SKIRTS is the UQ student society for women in engineering. This year WE leveraged this large student group to create the ‘Industry is ready for you!” panel event. A current engineering student from SKIRTS and a WE Student Leader facilitated the panel of three women from Powerlink, Ergon Energy and Energex, and Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

Thanks to our industry partners for providing inspiring engineers to motivate and challenge the attendees. 

It was such a pleasure to host the joint WE & Skirts Panel this year! Our panelists were so generous in sharing their wisdom, and as we take the first steps in our careers, it was wonderful to hear from women who are paving the way. It was also great to collaborate with Skirts on our shared mission to celebrate and encourage diversity within engineering!

WE Student Leader

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