Aberdeen Robogals inspire women into STEM careers

Aberdeen Robogals from left are Zoe Chu, Jeanette Forbes and Laura Ong.
Aberdeen Robogals: from left are Zoe Chu, Jeanette Forbes and Laura Ong.

The Aberdeen chapter of Robogals – an international student-run organisation that encourages women to consider studying engineering and related fields – has won a national award at the organisation’s annual conference at Imperial College, London.

The award – entitled “They did that? Wow!” – is presented in recognition of chapters which have achieved something creative, transformative or just “plain amazing” over the course of the year.

Aberdeen is one of more than 30 chapters in 10 countries across the globe. Set up in 2016 by students from the University of Aberdeen, the chapter runs interactive, engineering and science based workshops in local schools.

Less than a year after starting up the group has already exceeded its targets. The initial goal was to deliver 15 workshops in four schools to an estimated 200 girls but so far they’ve taught more than 230 girls at 24 workshops in five schools. They also held a number of workshops at Techfest in Aberdeen.

The group is supported by city businesswoman Jeanette Forbes, a long-time advocate of encouraging more women to consider a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects.

Forbes, Chief Executive of PCL Group, said: “There is a lot of talk about encouraging women to consider a STEM-related career but the students behind Robogals are actually doing something about it.

“Our Oil & Gas sector continues to provide excellent, long-term career opportunities for women and., as someone has worked in the industry for many years, I do all I can to raise awareness about this.”

Zoe Chu, Robogals Chapter president, said their workshops cover the broad range of STEM topics and not just robotics: “Although the gender gap is biggest in electronic and electrical-related fields there is a significant decline in people taking all STEM degrees.

“We believe it is important to introduce children to as many possible paths they may take in all STEM fields and to garner their interest at an early age.”

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