This Is Engineering Day – Anastasia Steel

Mon, 01 Nov 2021 16:19:00 GMT
(Pictured above) MEng Computer Aided Mechanical Engineering student Anastasia Steel
(Pictured above) MEng Computer Aided Mechanical Engineering student Anastasia Steel

A GCU engineering student has spoke about her role as Student Mentor and how she hopes to inspire and educate young people about STEM subjects. 

MEng Computer Aided Mechanical Engineering student Anastasia Steel has been working as a Student Mentor since 2018, after being encouraged to apply by friends on her course. 

Student Mentors (who work with the Outreach department at GCU) act as role models and GCU ambassadors, delivering a wide range of activities to increase the confidence, core skills and life-long learning aspirations of young people. 

The role of Student Mentor is an excellent CV enhancer, as well as being a great way to give back to the community. 

Anastasia spoke to us about her experience as a Student Mentor, and how she uses her role to help inspire young people about her subject: 


How did you hear about the Student Mentor role and why did you decide to apply?: 

 "I became a Student Mentor when I was in 2nd year. My friend joined the team when she was in 1st year and told me that the team needed more female engineering students to help across the Outreach department. I put an application in and it just went from there!  

Even now, they’re still looking to involve more female engineering students because at the moment there isn’t a lot of them. My friend suggested it to me because she thought I would be a good fit, so I’m glad I went for it."


What sort of activities and shifts do you do as a Student Mentor?: 

"The Student Mentor role covers an array of different shifts and activities. My favourite shift to do actually, despite not being related to engineering, is the Primary 2 Digital Book Project. We get to work with 6 year olds and come up with silly characters – from purple pandas to 7ft tall geese!  

We also get to do sessions with secondary school pupils that are more related to our subject disciplines, which is an opportunity for me to speak about mechanical engineering. Not necessarily just aimed at females, but anyone in general who is interested in getting into a STEM related subject or background. I try to tell them about what mechanical engineering actually means since it’s not covered in the school curriculum." 

As a student Engineer, why is it important to use your role as Student Mentor to help younger people?: 
"For me, I look back at school and I wish that I had someone that I could look up to as a STEM role model. I studied subjects that could be related to engineering, but my interest didn’t really develop until I did my own research into it. It’s really important nowadays to encourage more young people to consider the different areas of STEM, regardless of gender. 

I try to think about what I would have wanted to have in secondary school in terms of a role model, so I try to be that person for young people now. Someone who could answer questions and even tell me about University in general, not necessarily just the subject. It’s not every day that young people get the chance to speak to University students, so having that face to face discussion about it is so important. 

In terms of other examples of STEM outreach work, I’ve took part in a number of activities whilst at University. One of these was an event called Explorathon, which involved me working at a stall and doing live technical demonstrations for children to teach them about the basics of engineering. 
My final Honours project actually involved working alongside primary schools on a project called “STEM to STEAM” which aimed to encourage people to incorporate using art in STEM subjects."

Finally, for anyone that’s studying a STEM related subject, why would you recommend applying to be a Student Mentor?:  

"Student Mentoring for me is almost like a break from University work. My course can be quite maths-heavy and technical, so it’s great to be able to just go out and speak to people about your subject. I’m really passionate about the promotion of STEM subjects, so when I get the opportunity to help with that then I will always take it up. 

To anyone who is thinking about doing it, I would say just go for it! For me, it’s helping me choose my career path before I complete my time at University. When I was in 1st year, I was convinced that I would just graduate University and go straight into a workshop but now I really want to be involved in the promotion of STEM subjects because it’s so important. 
I 110% recommend doing it to anyone who is considering it. It’s so easy to fit around your classes and it’s a great break from general coursework!"

Find out more about Student Mentoring on the GCU website 


By Rachael McAlonan           

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