New Scholarship to Boost Number of Women in STEM

Engineering is still male dominated, but there is support available for young female engineers.
Sep 19, 2022
Young women need to know that engineering touches on a vast range of activities and industries.

There aren’t enough female engineers and Lily Waldron, 21 of Resevoir, Melbourne is doing her best to change that.

Lily has completed her three-year Bachelor of Science, majoring in chemical systems, and is focusing on sustainability in her two final years of study with a view to working in pharmaceuticals or food production. Either way, she hopes to be working alongside more women engineers.

In addition to her studies, Lily volunteers for Engineers Without Borders, visiting primary schools to promote STEM subjects, particularly among female students.

Lily only decided on engineering late in year 12, after becoming aware of the field’s breadth, “I think a lot of girls write-off engineering in school because they think it’s all about building bridges. That’s why I love going into schools because you can explain to them that engineering can be about anything – even make-up.”

“I knew I wanted a career in science but I just couldn’t imagine being in a lab 24/7. It was one of my teachers who suggested chemical engineering because it has applications in all sorts of everyday items and processes. It was exactly what I was looking for and I didn’t know it existed,” she said.

“I would love to see more women studying engineering. It’s getting a bit better but women are still underrepresented. We are still very outnumbered by men from what I can see in my classes,” Lily said.

There is help available, and Lily has recently won the inaugural, very generous $30,000 Acusensus Women in Engineering scholarship, which is open to all female engineering students.

The two-year scholarship, which Acusensus presents in partnership with Melbourne University, will help Waldron to complete her masters in engineering in 2023.

Lily said she hoped more scholarships for women would assist in redressing the gender imbalance in STEM-related fields.

“I am really proud to be chosen as the inaugural recipient of the scholarship. It is really encouraging to see companies such as Acusensus actively pursuing pathways to platform women in STEM,” Lily said.

Acusensus in an Australian-based technology developer that provides road safety camera solutions across Australia and internationally. Its world-first AI-powered technology uses fixed and roadside ‘smart’ cameras to autonomously and simultaneously capture high-resolution photographic evidence of driver infringements such as speeding, mobile phone use, seatbelt compliance, incorrect lane use and unregistered vehicles.

Founder and managing director Alexander Jannink said the scholarship was intended to redress the gender gap in STEM fields such as engineering.

“In setting up this scholarship we wanted to give back to the university that has supported us so well in our journey from fledgling start up to world leader in road safety solutions, while also furthering the company’s social impact mission,” Jannink said.

“When I began my undergraduate degree in mechatronical engineering, my class was 96 per cent male. Furthering equality in the workforce needs to start with the educational choices and options presented to students. In conjunction with the university, we have designed our scholarship to promote and encourage pathways for women to pursue an engineering career, which has traditionally remained a male-dominated space.”