Monday, 3 October 2011
In July this year, Robogals launched a Science Challenge for girls all over Australia to do a science experiment, film a 4-minute video, then submit it online for some great prize. http://www.sciencechallenge.com.au/ (Entries close 28 October 2011).
To prepare for the Science Challenge, I got as much input and suggestions as I could from television producers, journalists, and employees of Google, GE and Engineers Australia. After taking on all these great ideas, we fired and went to work making the Science Challenge happen.
Yesterday, I was talking to my sponsorship and partnerships manager about next year’s Science Challenge. Just in examining how things were going with this year’s Science Challenge, we came up with specific and actionable ideas that will focus our efforts and have even more girls participating next year.
We could never have come up with these ideas if we hadn’t first already implemented a plan.
In March this year, Robogals implemented the pilot of the Robogals Rural and Regional programme. The plan was to have female engineering students from rural and regional areas around the country come to Melbourne for a Training Weekend and get equipped with the skills necessary to hold a large community event back in their hometown. The pilot included just universities from Victoria.
The pilot didn’t go very well. We only managed to get 4 volunteers from 2 regions attending, and none of the girls successfully held an event.
On the grant application for this project, we had stated our goal was to have volunteers from 19 regions reach 1900 schoolgirls this year. Gulp.
As our first plan didn’t work, we racked our brains and came up with another plan.
Our new plan has two components:
1. Have our Robogals city chapters go to rural and regional areas near their city for one week and teach as many schoolgirls robotics lessons as they can in that week.
2. Have female engineering students from rural and regional universities come to Melbourne for a Training Weekend and learn leadership, presentation and public speaking skills so that they can return to their hometowns to deliver talks about engineering to schoolgirls.
We began implementing the plan in April. Since then, the Robogals Rural and Regional programme has reached 2101 girls from 46 schools: 801 girls from 17 schools were taught robotics workshops and 1300 girls from 29 schools were given presentations about engineering.
We wouldn’t have been able to come up with our new plan, if we hadn’t first already implemented a plan.
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