A university student-led robotics program that inspires girls to get more involved in science, technology, engineering and maths visited Karratha for the first time last week.
Four young volunteers from University of WA group Robogals spent four days at Baynton West Primary and Dampier Primary running children through a series of hands-on engineering and EV3 robotics workshops.
Robogals volunteer Ja-Jet Loh said their program aimed to encourage more girls to study and work in the STEM industry, in which the current gender ratio was about one woman to seven men.
“Our approach is to target younger kids ... to encourage them, specifically girls, to pursue these STEM fields by showing them that it can be interesting,” he said.
“For some of them it can be a bit of a put-off because it’s seen as a male-dominated field, so we want to open it up to them and show them that it’s fun and interesting and they can do it as well.”
Last week’s tour was the first time Robogals has visited the City of Karratha, supported by Rio Tinto. Its volunteers said Pilbara students had embraced the program and were enthusiastic to work with their robots.
Mr Loh said the Robogals format of having students teach students worked because younger children could relate to its volunteers and viewed them as STEM role models.
“They can see that we’re just like them — we used to be them, but look at us now,” he said.
“We are doing engineering studies, we’re doing cool things with robots and they can do that as well.”