The lack of diversity in the engineering sector is well documented, but the University of Sheffield is addressing that in a slightly unusual way: through children’s literature.
The University of Sheffield strives to get engineering education on the curriculum to reach tomorrow’s engineers when they are young, harnessing the natural curiosity of children and encouraging them to use their natural abilities in maths to make a difference to the world around them.
Encouraging students into STEM education
And as part of its work to encourage more young people into engineering, the University of Sheffield launched its “Engineering Is” campaign. The campaign aims to challenge perceptions of engineering and inspire primary school children - particularly young girls - to consider studying engineering at university.
Tools to help students understand STEM
"Engineering Is" builds upon the success of a book called "The Crash Landing" written by members of the University of Sheffield's Women in Engineering Student Society. It's a story about a little girl who rescues an alien by building a new spaceship for him. The book is currently used as a tool to help engage with schools to talk to children about engineering, science, maths and technology careers and is sometimes given to children to take home.
Additional Engineering Is campaign resources include a cartoon, website and online games that will also appeal to a broader age range.
It is hoped that through accessing the 'Engineering Is' website along with reading the book to their children, parents will also develop deeper understanding about the world of engineering and how they can encourage their children into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
Engineering Is ...
"To me, engineering is like a jigsaw puzzle, at first all the pieces are jumbled together but you know that if you look at it from a certain perspective, you can make all the pieces fit and find a solution to make a positive impact. Even today there are gender stereotypes within engineering and sadly it's stopping students considering a career in STEM. It's important to remove these stereotypes and harness the talent pipeline because engineering opens up a wide range of possibilities. It's also important to showcase the changes that engineering can make in a global society and that one idea can transform the lives of millions." says Saheela Mohammed, an Undergraduate in Bioengineering (MEng) and President of the Women in Engineering Society, and Member of the Sheffield Engineering Leadership Academy.
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