Catholic Education South Australia
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06 Oct 2023
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CESA empowering girls to ‘engineer’ a successful STEM career

Catholic Education SA (CESA) is continuing its partnership with the University of South Australia (UniSA) to facilitate a program for young female students to explore engineering careers and pathways.

In collaboration with UniSA’s Maria Vieira, the STEM Girl’s Academy provides a special program for girls in Years 7 and 8 with an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) learning to further explore engineering practices, principles, and pathways.

The program is supported by industry partner Fleet Space Technologies, a South Australian company which has designed, built and launched Australia’s only commercial NanoSatellites.

The staff at Fleet have designed a real-world problem for students to design a solution for, with the aim of empowering them to build their creative confidence.

In preparation for the challenge, girls from Kildare College, St Aloysius College, Sacred Heart College, Mary MacKillop College, St Columba College and Nazareth Catholic College participated in an excursion to Fleet's Beverley headquarters on September 28.

Students learned how satellites are launched and transmit data, ways in which satellites orbit and are deorbited and the process of 3D printing and assembling satellite components.  

After receiving their creative challenge brief at UniSA next term, students will collaborate to brainstorm ideas using Design Thinking processes and craft prototypes that aim to address the complex issue and comprehend its impact on society.

Guided by industry experts and female trailblazers in the fields of space and engineering, they will then have the opportunity to share their initial solutions with the engineers from Fleet Space Technologies who will provide feedback to help refine and enhance the designs.

The innovations will then be showcased to a panel of experts late in the term.

“The power of this program is in providing students with an authentic STEM industry experience, strengthening the connection between STEM and creativity,” said Melanie O’Leary, System Coach: Learning, Assessment and Pedagogies (Years 7-10), CESA.

“By learning how to solve a real-world problem and be inspired by female role models working in the space industry, students are expected to increase their levels of creative confidence in STEM disciplines.

“As they present their solutions, they'll not only be exploring the ways in which they've designed and engineered innovative answers, but also laying the foundation for a future filled with limitless possibilities.”

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