GCU Engineering students team up with primary schools as part of STEM partnership

Wed, 10 Feb 2021 16:19:00 GMT
(Pictured above) Anastasia Steel alongside examples of her shoe concepts and designs
(Pictured above) Anastasia Steel alongside examples of her shoe concepts and designs

GCU engineering students have been tasked with a manufacturing design project, with the help of creative primary school pupils.

Computer-Aided Mechanical Engineering students Emily Green and Anastasia Steel are both working on a design and manufacturing project as part of their final Honours Project – with the aim to design an interchangeable high heeled shoe and a fashionable foldable chair.

In order to complete their projects, both students have teamed up with a local primary school as part of a STEM partnership with GCU. Pupils have the opportunity to use their creativity and help the GCU students come up with design ideas.

4th year Computer-Aided Mechanical Engineering student Anastasia Steel (designer of the interchangeable shoe) explained why she chose this particular project. She said: “The aim of my honour’s project is to design and manufacture an interchangeable high heel shoe.

I initially approached my now supervisor to say I wanted to focus on something relating to materials science and CAD as those are two areas I find really interesting within engineering. My supervisor came back to me and told me a bit about a project surrounding high heel shoes that someone did last year, and I was intrigued straight away!

It hadn’t even crossed my mind that I could focus on something like shoes for an engineering dissertation, but it has been fantastic so far and working with a primary school has been an added bonus!”

Anastasia has really enjoyed her experience working with the primary school students so far. She said: “The experience so far has been great! It’s been really interesting to see how fashion and engineering can tie in with one another, and it’s also given me a chance to explore my creative side within STEM.

Having the project partnered with a primary school has also helped me keep a log of my progress on my STEM Twitter account and I can’t wait to continue my work with the pupils over the next few months and see what ideas they can bring to the table!”

Anastasia believes that engaging this sort of work with young people can really broaden their perceptions of STEM related subjects. She said: “I think it’s important to give young people the opportunity to engage in this type of work because it gives them an insight into what STEM actually is.

I think it’s easy enough for children to sit back and think that STEM subjects are really difficult because of how academically challenging they can be, but a project like this gives everyone involved a chance to be more creative and have a bit more freedom surrounding their work.”

She added: “While it is so important to celebrate the success of women in STEM and get more girls interested in these subjects, giving children access to projects like mine at a young age sparks that curiosity and shows them just how rewarding and exciting science, technology, engineering and maths can be!”

You can keep up to date with Anastasia’s STEM outreach work on her Twitter page

By Rachael McAlonan

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