By Imogen Feder
Our Alumni Mentoring program was launched virtually on the 8th of October, bringing together past and present Robogals volunteers from Australia, Belgium, the Philippines, Indonesia, New Zealand and the US.
The aim of the program is to match Robogals’ alumni with current volunteers, to help build their networks, provide support and share insight into STEM career pathways. Mentees are placed with mentors from a diverse range of backgrounds, including acoustic engineering, cyber security consulting and implant technology developing at Cochlear.
Nicole Brown is one of the first mentors to join the program. Nicole is a Structural Engineer, Buildings and Places at AECOM and was CEO of Robogals in 2013 to 2018.
Nicole joined the program to share her knowledge and experience but also to learn from the next generation of volunteers. During her time with Robogals, Nicole was a mentee in the PWC 21st Century Minds Program and gained incredible experience from her mentor, who she is still in touch with today.
She believes that mentorship provides young STEM students with the “opportunity to ask questions in a safe and non-judgemental environment. There are many situations where students, in particular girls, do not feel comfortable asking questions and as a result, they do not have the opportunity to develop and grow as quickly as their potential would allow them to.”
As women strive to succeed in STEM careers, they are often met with systemic barriers, including a lack of mentoring opportunities. The Women in Stem Decadal Plan identifies this as an issue that can lead to a significant reduction in the proportion of women at every stage of professional progression in STEM fields.
The program is inclusive of all Robogals’ volunteers and alumni.
Morris Gu, a third year electrical and computer systems engineering student at Monash University, is a mentee in the program. He recognises that STEM has always been a male dominated field, so he believes that it is important to support female leaders.
Morris wishes to gain greater insight into career opportunities through the program, particularly in the telecommunications or robotics industry, that he has not found in his studies.
Following the launch event, the participants meet for three months, giving the mentors an opportunity to guide, advise and support their mentees.
Robogals Alumni Mentoring Launch Night
The program will be run from October to March. It has been run with Robogals APAC this year but will be expanded globally next year.