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Girl powered: Global project to get more women in engineering comes to the University of Sussex

The University of Sussex will host the three-day Robogals SINE Conference for the EMEA region from Friday February 15.

A global movement getting more women into engineering will plan how to more than double the number of girls it reaches at a very special event to be held at the University of Sussex.

The Robogals SINE (Seminars Inducting New Executive-committees) Conference 2019 will bring together chapters from Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) this week for an event celebrating the increasing participation of young women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Robogals Sussex branch members have been working hard to create a fantastic three-day event starting on Friday 15 February 2019 that will suitably honour the EMEA region’s tenth birthday.

Lucy Gaen, Robogals Sussex president, said: “It is a great honour to be hosting and organising the Robogals Conference and we hope to give everyone who attends an event that they will remember.

"For me personally, I’ve learned a lot from my time already in Robogals. In particular I feel it has taught me the importance of providing relatable role models for young girls during their education.

"For the upcoming year Robogals Sussex will be really focused on expanding and developing our volunteer base and we hope that we will find lots of inspiration from meeting members of chapters from all round the UK.”

Robogals was founded in July 2008 by Marita Cheng and Mark Parncutt at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and the first UK chapter opened early in 2009.

The organisation runs workshops for girls aged between 8 and 18 and are designed to spark a passion for engineering – a subject that sadly still attracts too few women and which is still perceived as a male pursuit.

Robogals now has 31 volunteer groups which have reached out to 80,000 girls around the world. By 2020, Robogals aims to help towards raising the proportion of young women studying engineering to 30% and expand its outreach to 200,000 girls globally.

Caitie McClelland, Chief Development Officer at Robogals Global, said: “The Robogals SINE conferences are a fantastic event for our volunteers that allows them to meet other like-minded people from across the region and the world. The conference enables them to undertake leadership and professional development training and inspires them to improve and innovate on what they currently do in their volunteer role.

"This year the conference will be hosted by the University of Sussex Chapter, who were awarded the Innovation Award at last year's conference. We look forward to seeing them host this year's event.”

The conference will give attendees the chance to share ideas from different chapters; train and prepare for the upcoming year of activities and take part in professional development workshops and opportunities.

The University will also host the annual Robogals EMEA Awards event, where different chapters will be rewarded for their year’s achievements in a number of different categories recognising outstanding examples of innovation, perseverance, community and creativity.

Professor Jonathan Bacon, Head of the School of Engineering and Informatics at the University of Sussex, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Robogals Conference is coming to our great campus. It is a truly inspiring movement which not only has a transformative impact on the young school pupils Robogals work with, but also on our very committed students who take part and who develop excellent leadership and educational skills. We fully support the aims of Robogals and intend that the University will play a significant role in helping the organisation achieve its ambitions for its second decade.”

The conference is being facilitated thanks to funding of more than £1,000 from the University of Sussex Students’ Union.

By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Monday, 11 February 2019