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Ladies in Engineering At Deakin - or LEAD - is a fun networking group for Deakin University’s female engineering students. The group is in its first year and runs alongside the Deakin Engineering Society (DES) group.
The idea for LEAD came from final year student Rachael Rollinson.
‘I was Vice President for Professional Development in DES last year and I noticed that there were no real networking opportunities available for girls [in engineering] at Deakin... and I had the idea to do something about that,’ Rachael explains.
After discussing it with others, Rachael says the idea ‘just snowballed’ and LEAD was born.LEAD’s aim is to ‘increase opportunity through social connections and professional development, and to encourage women to get into the field of study’. The group is planning a variety of activities through the year, some just for fun - such as pizza and trivia nights - and others with a career focus, including networking with industry.
‘We’ve been going up to the Women in Engineering Group events through Engineers Australia as a group too, helping us to network and get to know some professionals,’ Rachael says.
Virginia Martin, also in her final year at Deakin, is another of the group’s organisers. She says that while the group currently has a lot of senior students involved, it also has plenty to offer girls in their first and second year, especially as they’re settling into university.
‘It’s really handy to speak to a girl who’s done the same subject as you or had that lecturer or knows the best way to get that assignment done,’ Virginia explains. It’s a point Rachael agrees with.
‘I know engineering can be quite full on at times, so it’s about having someone to talk to, who has been through that,’ she says.