Celebrating women in STEM

Zhamilya Zhalmukash from University of Canberra High School (above) and Siobhan Dooley from Daramalan College (below), receive their UNSW Maths Prizes from Professor Michael Frater. Photos: supplied.

UNSW Canberra has recognised outstanding high school mathematicians, with the presentation of the UNSW Canberra Prize for the Best Female Student in Mathematics on Thursday 7 March, the eve of International Women’s Day.

The prize celebrates year eight and nine recipients, who are the “top female maths students in their year”.

Professor Michael Frater, Rector of UNSW Canberra, said UNSW Canberra is celebrating the strength of female students in mathematics, and is encouraging more young women to study maths at a tertiary level.

“We are committed to reducing the gender gap in STEM subjects, as women represent only 16% of the STEM workforce, yet it is one of the fastest growing sectors.”

The prize winners took home $250 along with their award. They will also be eligible for a $5,000 undergraduate scholarship, should they enrol in a Bachelor of Engineering degree as a civilian student at UNSW Canberra.

UNSW senior lecturer and mechanical and aerospace engineer Dr Bianca Capra, who spoke at the ceremony, said maths is the foundation for many STEM-based careers, and recognising young female mathematicians will help drive the ongoing passion for STEM subjects at critical points in their education.

“We are entering the golden age of women in STEM. We have always been here but our profiles and presence are becoming noticed, and there are more dedicated female networks to support and mentor our young women into these fields,” Dr Capra said.

“The sky is the limit for these girls.”

UNSW Canberra’s goal is a 50% enrolment rate of females in their undergraduate engineering degrees.

‘Waste’ resources recycled into roads

The ACT Government is trialling a new type of asphalt made from a range of recycled materials on the roundabout on Gundaroo Drive, between Pallin Street and Hollingsworth Street.

“Every tonne of this innovative asphalt product will contain approximately 800 plastic bags, 300 glass bottles, 18 used printer toner cartridges and 250 kilograms of reclaimed asphalt,” ACT Minister for Roads Chris Steel said.

The reclaimed asphalt has been sourced from local roads, glass from the ACT’s kerbside recycling (yellow bin) system, and some of the soft plastics through the ACT Container Deposit Scheme.

“The new asphalt is designed to be stronger and more resistant to deformation. This will make it last longer, and allow it to better handle heavy vehicle traffic,” Mr Steel said.

“The roundabout on Gundaroo Drive is a great place to trial this asphalt as it is a heavy traffic area, where vehicles are turning, and therefore putting more pressure on the road surface.”

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