Ayrshire Connects is a new network that has been set up with the aim of connecting our female STEM students across the College. Recently, they organised a visit to the University of Glasgow to meet with their female engineering society – FemEng.
The students were greeted by Nina and Ellen, the president and vice president of the FemEng society. Next was a meeting with a group of students from FemEng. They talked about what it’s like to study at university and how they felt about studying male-dominated subjects at university. Nearly all of the FemEng members were studying different disciplines of engineering but they enjoy coming together to study and arranging fun events on campus.
First up on the tour was a visit to the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre where the students were met by Professor Douglas J. Paul, who gave a presentation on Micro and Nanotechnology. Next they were suited up in personal protective equipment – suits to cover them from head to toe – to enter the centre’s clean room, which is a state-of-the-art facility for microfabrication and high-specification nanofabrication. The 1350m2 clean room houses over £32M worth of nanofabrication tools. The students got to see some of the University’s technicians working on their various research projects.
The highlight of the tour was a visit to the Biomedical Engineering Department to meet Dr Henrik Gollee, a senior lecturer.
He explained that his research interests are in the use of control engineering methods to understand how humans control their movements, in particular, using this understanding to develop assistive and rehabilitation methods for people with neurological impairments. To demonstrate some of the work he does, he hooked Becky, an Ayrshire Connects member, up to a machine which gave out a small electrical current. When he typed information into his laptop, Becky’s hand began to move on its own. He explained that this can be helpful for people who have spinal damage and have lost the use of their limbs.
Finally, the Ayrshire students got the opportunity to visit and speak with another University of Glasgow student society – UGRacing – who in the summer are competing in “Formula Student” at Silverstone racetrack against 200 other universities from around the world.
Working as a team in their free time, they design and manufacture a race car, building it from the ground up, taking the project from the initial concept to a full model 3D representation of the car they have designed.
The trip was a huge success, and will hopefully be the first of many fun trips.