International Women in Engineering Day

Biomedical Engineering PhD candidate Dhara Amin has recently achieved back-to-back-to-back wins – in more ways than one.

On June 13 she won the Bright Spark competition at the Fresh Science competition where nine of SA’s leading early-career scientists, representing three universities, presented their work to a crowded pub in the time it took for a sparkler to burn out (her talk was on slipped discs in our backs and how they occur).

The gong followed a busy April for Dhara, when she won the national IET Present Around the World competition for young engineering professionals and students, as well as the Best Poster Award at the 29th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Spine Society of Australia.

Amongst all that she found time to head to Banff, Canada to present oral and poster presentations at the 45th International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine (May 14-18), and will now prepare for a trip to Singapore to represent Australia at the Regional IET Present Around the World competition in August.

Achievements like Dhara’s are being celebrated around the world today during International Women in Engineering Day, which is an international awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the incredible engineering career opportunities available to girls and women.

Dhara says she initially never considered engineering a viable profession for her.

“My conception of what engineering was, was completely wrong,” she explains. “I knew I wanted to find a career that would help people, but I didn’t realise engineering did actually do that.  As engineers, we impact people’s daily lives much more than everyone thinks. We design all the objects around you, we build prosthetics to help those without limbs, we build toys that children play with every day and we even design your grandparents’ knee replacements.”

“I didn’t know this before I started on my engineering journey, but when I did figure it out, I fell in love with the profession!”

Dhara says women bring a very unique perspective to engineering and they think about problems differently to men.

“Without a diverse team of individuals designing the products we use every day, how can we ensure these products will suffice for everyone?” she says.

“A team with both men and women is more innovative and can avoid potential design flaws. But I wouldn’t just encourage more women to take up engineering so we can have better products, I think engineering is a very rewarding profession.

“We get to help people every day and improve their lives by simple design changes or developments. I think that’s what’s so amazing about engineering and why I love it so much.”

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