The ENHANCE Alliance organised the ENHANCE Girls in STEM competition, which took place on 7-8 June 2022 in the context of the Women in Tech Summit – Europe’s largest event for women in IT, technology and science, hosted in Warsaw, Poland.

Thirteen girls, aged between 16 and 19, took part in the finals: 5 students from Poland, four from Italy, two from Spain, and two from Sweden.

Inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the participants were asked to present their ideas on how to solve local environmental problems that may have a global dimension, such as overconsumption of natural resources or climate change.

Finally, the jury selected three winners based on the quality of their proposal, the innovation and technologies used, its feasibility and the quality of presentation.

First place was won by Matilde Dugoni from Italy. Matilde proposed the “Saving drops” idea. Her solution is a system made up of a water pressure sensor and an application providing data on water consumption during selected household activities. Maigualida Benitez Rondon from Spain took second place for her idea of “STEG” glasses, which can make everyday activities easier for people with eyesight problems. The glasses with built-in sensors, a GPS system, voice assistant application and powered by solar energy, can be helpful in daily situations. Karolina Kruss from Poland won third place for the “Warsaw Roofpark project” aimed at creating green space on flat residential roofs, which photovoltaic panels could power. The idea could solve the problem of overheated buildings.

The prizes consist of a laptop, two Interrail tickets and an all-expenses-paid visit to any of the seven member universities of the Enhance Alliance.

Congratulations to all the winners and we hope that this competition has served as a starting point for all participants to consider a future in STEM. The ENHANCE Alliance has arranged this competition in its work to promote diversity and gender equality at the university and in society.

One of the significant challenges in education at present is women’s involvement in studies related to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). There is a gender gap, an invisible wall that is difficult to overcome in many cases. The result of this reality is most evident when students reach university, but the process of preferring science and technology-related careers starts at a younger age.

Therefore, awareness-raising work to bring STEM to future female university students must start early. The aim is to empower and convince them that they can study and then work in a STEM related field. Why is it an area of action primarily occupied by men? Why can’t I work here too? These are the questions they have to ask themselves and thus overcome social prejudices.

 

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