From the 20th to 25th of July 2015, thirty girls aged 11-14 participated in a Summer Engineering Course at Imperial College London. The aim of the week was to encourage more girls become interested in Engineering, as the current ratio of women to men is 1:9. The course covered nine key engineering disciplines, including Aeronautics, Civil Engineering and Computing.
On the first day of the Summer School we were given an introduction to engineering by Dr Jenna Stevens-Smith, where we learnt the extent to which engineering surrounds us. An engineer is not just someone with a drill and hardhat, but anyone who uses science and maths to solve problems which improve the world around us. This means that engineers are actively working to solve issues such as better biomedical devices to improve health. The talk helped to broaden our idea of engineering, as for many the subject was completely new.
One of the most interesting and challenging parts of the week was during the Electrical and Electronic Engineering session, where we were tasked with designing and building a passion meter from scratch. This had the ability to test skin resistance and create a pitched buzz based upon it. When putting the device together, we had to find the correct resistors ourselves from different calculations. The passion meter could also be used as a fairly accurate lie detector, with different levels of skin resistance corresponding to telling the truth or a lie.
The rest of the week included talks about the future of Computer Science in alternative intelligence, augmented reality and robotics, and the chance to test our piloting skills using a flight simulator, complete with a two-seat cockpit and fully programmable glass display instrument panels.
The final day of the course consisted of presentations on each engineering session, as well as the awarding of certificates and t-shirts. Overall, the summer school was a very enlightening experience and has definitely made the prospect of studying engineering much more of an option in the future.
Victoria Adjei 10N