From January to March this year, I travelled to Germany, the UK, the USA and Jamaica to study "Strategies to get girls interested in science, engineering and technology" on the 2011 Nancy Fairfax Churchill Fellowship. (I came back to Australia for 2.5 days during my Fellowship to accept the Young Australian of the Year award!) Upon my return, I had 10 weeks to write a report detailing my findings.
A summary of my major lessons learned:
The ideas I got as a result of my Churchill Fellowship are being used to create a new Robogals workshop curriculum and a robust volunteer training programme, a Robogals Club (for girls with the aptitude for SET to further their skills and pursue their interest), and a Robogals Camp. Using the new curriculum, Robogals will also work on creating a program to train teachers, and other ideas I received as a result of my Churchill Fellowship will be introduced in Robogals over the coming years including family activities and awards programmes. Finally, relevant findings from my Churchill Fellowship will be integrated into the Robogals SINEs (Seminars Inducting New Executive committee members, the Robogals conference), held annually in each Robogals region, and Robogals’ training manuals.
The Churchill Fellowship gives Australian citizens over the age of 18 years a chance to conduct research overseas in a field that they are passionate about and that would benefit Australia. Nominations open in November each year, and close at the end of February. The Churchill Fellowship is an amazing and life-changing opportunity and I would recommend it to anyone! Find out more information here: http://www.churchilltrust.com.au/
You can read my full report here: http://www.churchilltrust.com.au/fellows/detail/3571/
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I'm the founder of Robogals, and the Young Australian of the Year for 2012. Currently working on 2Mar Robotics, giving speeches around the country and in my final semester of my degrees in Mechatronics Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Melbourne.
I tweet @maritacheng and I'm on Facebook.
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