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New scholarship program supports women in engineering

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Two first-year engineering students at the University of Tasmania are the inaugural recipients of a new Engineers Australia scholarship designed to promote gender diversity in the traditionally male-dominated sector.

Hayley Bellinger and Lucy Watt were presented with the Engineers Australia Tasmania Women in Engineering Scholarships as part of the organisation’s Engineering Diversity Scholarship program.

Engineers Australia Tasmania General Manager Dr Vicki Gardiner said the aim of the program was to increase the numbers of women entering the profession – in Tasmania at only 8%.

“The one-year scholarships sponsored by Caterpillar and Hydro Tasmania will provide $5000 to each student to assist with text books, fees and enable them to concentrate more fully on their studies,” Dr Gardiner said.

Increasing the number of women in the profession will improve engineering outcomes in Tasmania. Diversity in the workplace has been shown to improve overall organisation performance. Bringing a variety of experiences and different approaches to thinking leads to better outcomes.

Hayley Bellinger’s interest in engineering was sparked by participating in a Science and Engineering Challenge in Grade 10. She is now studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Naval Architecture) at the Australian Maritime College and hopes to pursue a career designing vessels as a qualified naval architect.

“I want to be an engineer because I want to create things that will make a difference in the world,” she said.  

I’ve always been good at math, science and creative things, so when it was time to choose what to do as a career, engineering just made sense. I like finding innovate ways to solve problems.

Lucy Watt, who is studying a Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Tasmania, has similar goals.

“I am hoping through the course of my degree that I can learn creative and innovative ways to provide the avenues in which our world can strive to be more effective and less wasteful in its approach to productivity,” she said.

“Through my degree and future engineering career, I am seeking to provide the important woman’s perspective in a male dominated field.”

Both students said they were honoured to be awarded the scholarships, which would allow them to better balance their work commitments so they could focus on their studies.

“When I found out that I won this award, I was over the moon. It is not every day that something like this happens. To be able to be an ambassador for women in engineering is a great feat,” Ms Watt said.

Published on: 04 Jun 2018