Speed Design & Inspiring Futures
BlogSpeed Design & Inspiring Futures

By Margarita Moya, Board Member, Engineers Without Borders

50 students. 1 hour to re-imagine, design and prototype a solution to challenges in accessing sustainable energy. Welcome to the Designathon, an event sponsored by ASI Solutions and hosted by Schneider Electric as part of their 2019 Innovation Day.

Engineers Without Borders Australia was a proud partner of the event, and I gleefully accepted the role of judging the design outcomes and mentoring students. The ideas flowed freely - from sustainable transportation complete with roof gardens, to ecolight sources for the everyday household -it was inspiring to witness how Year 9 & 10 students studying Design & Technology, Physics, Chemistry or Engineering might solve problems from entirely different perspectives.

It was a joy to listen to one of the students talk about her goal to be a Mechanical Engineer, and hear fellow EWB Australia university volunteers share their own stand-out experiences of studying engineering. The future is certainly bright if the smarts of these emerging engineers is anything to go by.

Participating in initiatives such as the Designathon are an unmissable opportunity to learn more about what inspires future careers choices in these students, and enables us to share how we, at EWB Australia, continue to be inspired by the communities we work with. One of our 2020 Strategy Goals is to redefine engineering and it starts with putting people in the centre of creating appropriate solutions.

As a mentor, I was asked what makes for a successful career in engineering. I think balance is key. Get your foot in the door with strong technical skills, and move towards success with your team through strong collaboration and a human-centred approach to problem solving.

Many thanks to Schneider Electric for inviting us, for their generous donation on the day to support our Sydney Chapter, to ASI Solutions for sponsoring the event, and to the teachers who answered such a broad range of questions (it was incredible to listen to them answer question after question!) and maintained a high energy in the room. Finally, many thanks to the students from the three participating high schools for sharing their ideas, and reinspiring the EWB Australia chapter volunteers too. I look forward to meeting them again one day -you never know where the next community changing idea might come from!

If you're keen to contribute to our work, you can view currently volunteer opportunities here.

Margarita Moya is a data enthusiast and active Engineers Without Borders chapter member. She has held various leadership and supporting roles as part of the EWB Sydney chapter and sits on our Board. Margarita currently works in digital analytics, coaching others on new ways to visualise data. She holds Bachelor degrees in Engineering (Industrial Chemistry) and Arts (English Literature) and continues with a postgraduate degree in Applied Statistics.