WISE Networking Night 2019 Experience
Author Credit: Rachael Alana McCullough, WISE Secretary
“So, what are you going to do when you finish uni?”
Every year since 2015, WISE has facilitated a Networking Night to help current STEM students answer this question. In 2019, WISE once again put together an ambitious, inspiring and highly anticipated evening to allow students and professionals to meet, engage and learn from one another.
This year’s event had over 180 students and professionals attend, with student tickets booked out weeks in advance. A wide range of industries with opportunities for STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine) graduates were represented on the night, including science communication, management consulting, telecommunications, software development, civil engineering, biomedical engineering, data analytics and more. A wide range of STEMM research fields were also represented, including academics from mathematics, neuroscience, earth and climate science, chemistry, data science, engineering and many more.
The evening began with a keynote speech from Felicity Furey, co-founder of Power of Engineering and Machinam, and current Director of Industry Partnerships at Swinburne University of Technology. With 10 years of experience in civil engineering and infrastructure projects, as well as two-start ups, Felicity was the perfect person to talk to current students about the endless possibilities for curious, determined and resilient STEMM graduates. In 2016, only 17% of Australia’s STEM qualified population were women. Visible role models like Felicity are an important factor in retaining women in STEMM degrees, and supporting their transition into industry or academia. As one of Science and Technology Australia’s 2019 Superstars of STEM, Felicity is helping to break down stereotypes of what being an engineer and entrepreneur means.
This year’s networking night also included a new initiative to help facilitate conversations between students and industry. Networking can be a daunting task even for experienced professionals, so WISE was keen to support students and ease the task of approaching new people in a professional setting. Each attendee was assigned to a small group of both students and professionals within their field of work or study, and were given some prompt questions such as “What do you like best about what you do?” and “What’s the best advice you’ve received in regard to your studies or career?”.
In a feedback survey of attendees, 94% of respondents said they would attend next year’s networking night, and 97% said they would recommend WISE to their networks.
The success of this year’s event would not have been possible without the generous contributions of our industry sponsors. WISE is a student volunteer run, not-for-profit organisation committed to supporting gender equity in STEM through providing opportunities for current women and non-binary students to engage with professionals in industry, develop career skills and find support networks within their peer groups.
If your company or organisation is interested in sponsoring or working with WISE, please reach out to us at anytime via firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always keen to partner with organisations that share our vision for gender equity in STEM, and equipping women and non-binary students with the skills they need for a successful career in STEM.