June 23 - Celebrating BCE women in Engineering


​St Mary’s College Ipswich students. 

International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) began in 2014 in the UK, as a national campaign from the Women’s Engineering Society to enable the celebration of women in engineering to become global. Since then, INWED has grown enormously, with this year’s theme focused on Inventors and Innovators. 

This year, Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) would like to shine a light on some of the inventors and innovators across our 146 schools. 
DR THERESE NOLAN, BCE Education Officer Vet and Learning Pathways: 
“BCE has a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program and in the vocational education and training sector, where female students are encouraged to pursue careers in engineering.” 

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St Mary’s College Ipswich students. 

BCE advocates and encourages female students to pursue careers in STEM says Education Officer Vet and Learning Pathways Dr Therese Nolan.  
“Each year we have at least 16,000 female students studying STEM across BCE’s 146 schools,” Dr Nolan said. 
“BCE schools ensure female students have the same opportunities to pursue engineering as a career, as their male counterparts. 
All girls school St Mary’s College Ipswich is just one example of BCE schools offering female students strong engineering career pathways. 

St Mary’s is a pioneer in the engineering space, encouraging students to complete their Certificate II in Engineering Pathways, followed by the Certificate III Aviation. 
“It offers automatic entry into the Bachelor of Aviation to pursue careers as aerospace engineers. 
“It’s so rewarding being part of an organisation who prepares and champions female students in the STEM space.” 
MONIQUE FARRAGHER, Science Teacher at San Sisto College, Carina:  

“I aim to shine a light and be a role model to our female students, about the many pathways available to them.” 

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Monique Farragher with San Sisto College Engineering student Aliesha Buckley.

Monique Farragher has a degree in Environmental Science and is passionate about STEM and inclusiveness in the classroom. She is also one of almost 800 STEM teachers across BCE’s 146 schools. 

Before moving into the education sector, Monique worked for seven years in the resources sector and brings this real-world experience into the classroom. 
Monique said she is currently working to improve pedagogical practice through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage project with Monash University and University of Queensland. 
“In this project we are implementing more problem-based learning STEM activities into the curriculum, and I am enjoying seeing the impact of this in my classroom practice” she said.  

Monique added she chose a career in teaching as she loves watching students explore engineering style problems. 

“I love problem solving, and the many facets that the engineering and design process offers,” she said. 

“I believe this develops the 21st century skills students will require for the jobs of the future, including, critical and creative thinking, communication, collaboration, literacy, numeracy, and ICT skills. 

“Looking into data from the college, 25 per cent of students leaving San Sisto College enter STEM pathways. 

“I would love to see more of our students entering engineering programs on completion of their high school studies. 

"Not only is this a rewarding career, but it also offers lifelong connections, opportunities to explore their interests and diverse travel opportunities.” 

JERSHA YOHANNAN, Year 7 student at Holy Spirit College, Fitzgibbon: 

“Engineering is learning to work together, finding solutions to fix problems, and understanding how things are put together.” 

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Jersha Yohannan, Year 7 student at Holy Spirit College.

Year 7 student Jersha first realised she had an interest in engineering when she joined the STEM club at Holy Spirit College. 

“I joined the STEM club thinking it would help me learn and be a better student,” she said. 

From there Jersha’s interest in STEM has grown, and she now aspires to pursue a career in engineering, but as she’s in Year 7, is still unsure of which type of engineering she would like to pursue.  

When speaking about her love for engineering, Jersha said she enjoys problem solving.  

“I love engineering because you get to meet new people and together you get to find new and interesting solutions to problems,” she said. 
“I would encourage other female students to pursue engineering as a career, as it can help their self-esteem and encourage them to try new things, while also finding new ways of looking at problems.” 

JEMMA DONOVAN, Year 12 student at San Sisto College, Carina: 

I believe that our future is one of sustainability, and I am super excited to be a part of our positive growth as a society.” 

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Jemma Donovan with the 2022 Exceptional Female – Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) award.

Year 12 student and school captain at San Sisto College Jemma Donovan recent took home the prestigious Queensland Resources Council (QRC) and Women in Mining and Resources (WIMARQ) award, in the category 2022 Exceptional Female – Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) Student.  

Jemma is also an aspiring engineer with the hopes to study a Bachelor of Engineering, majoring in Chemical Engineering at the University of Queensland.  
“In the future I see myself working on alternative energy production practices that will contribute to a positive, sustainable future,” she said. 
Jemma added she loves engineering because she enjoys problem solving and seeing her ideas applied in real-world contexts. 
Last year I attended a QMEA Oresome Minds camp, an educational camp held for students to gain insight into the everyday life of an engineer,” she said. 
“My team was allocated a project which involved using our problem-solving skills to design and map a conservation area for endangered species.  
“I learnt how to use high-tech mapping programs and 3D printing technologies, received guidance from industry professionals, and engineered a prototype of our design. 
Earlier this year, I was matched with Ingrid England, an environmental advisor from SHELL.  
“I have engaged in monthly meetings with my mentor, where I learn about the day-to-day workings of a global energy company, the importance of critical thinking in a professional environment, and the power of goal setting.  
“My mentor arranged a SHELL office visit for me in Brisbane city, where I spoke with some inspiring leaders in the business, hearing about the company from many different angles, including environmental, financial and corporate.” 

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