At the nationwide Girls’ Day 2021, the University of Kassel and Botany Labs got together to inspire young girls to pursue their technical and entrepreneurial dreams.
Every year across Europe technical enterprises, enterprises with technical departments and technical training facilities, universities, and research centers are invited to organize an open day for girls called Girls' Day.
“Girls' Day – Future Prospects for Girls” initiated a large campaign in which a wide range of professions and activities is presented to girls of 10 years upwards. The vocational choices of girls are influenced in a very positive way.
Girls' Day is thought to encourage the surroundings of the young women – i.e. families, school, media and employers – to participate in the campaign and change their traditional attitude towards technical professions. Information material, an interactive website and an individual advisory service provide support for all target groups.
In Germany, for instance, due to the nationwide focus and the uniform date, Girls' Day concentrates regional limited individual initiatives and achieves a unique broad effect. It is considered the largest career orientation project for female students. At the 20th Girls' Day edition in March 2020 over 10,000 institutions offered about 100,000 places for female students.
Girls’ Day is the world's largest career orientation event that promotes the idea of choosing a career and studying free of role stereotypes. Until today, over 8.000 companies and institutions have participated in Girls’ Day, which is a nationwide project for career and study orientation for girls in Germany.
Companies and Universities throughout Germany open their doors to female students on Girls' Day to introduce them to laboratories and careers in IT, crafts, natural sciences, and technology.
On top of that, there’re several panels where female leaders and role models in management positions in business and politics talk to inspire the younger generations to be more independent and open-minded. Girls' Day – 'Future Prospects for Girls' is funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth.
The Joint Development of Koru
The University of Kassel has participated in Girls’ Day for many years and every year a variety of events and presentations are organized in several natural sciences and technology areas. At the 2021 edition, Dipl.-Ing. Christian Skaley (University of Kassel) and Friedrich Eickhoff (CEO at Botany Labs) presented for the first time the joint collaboration over project KORU to inspire girls with a real-life case of applied mechanical engineering, and show what kind of projects an engineering degree can have you work at.
In total, several departments of the University of Kassel participated in this edition of Girls' Day, but the partnership over the project Koru with Botany Labs took place in cooperation with the Department of Mechanical Engineering specifically.
“KORU is an incredible innovative air purifier combining the natural air filtration properties of plants with a high-end, sustainable, nano-coated ceramic filter. Together, we manage to develop an incredibly effective mechanical design, capable of delivering impressive air-purification results.” Remarked Dr. Skaley.
During the event and the presentation, the girls learned which specific know-how, tools, and subjects (e.g., CAD, technical mechanics, physics, math, constructions technique, fluid mechanics, etc.) were necessary to develop KORU. After a very interesting “guessing game” in which the girls were getting into the details of the product, Dr. Skaley proceeded to define how mechanical engineering is structured, followed by an engaging live CAD demonstration.
“So often in life we are not aware of what surrounds us, and we are not questioning where things are coming from. However, literally every product we have at home requires some sort of technical drawing, which is an essential part of mechanical engineering.” Continued Dr. Skaley “The scope and importance of technical studies maybe doesn’t sound so important, but anyone who is fascinated by how things are made should pursue this passion. In today’s world, there cannot be great things – planes, ships, cars, toasters, etc. – without great engineers.”.
A Final Thought
As a personal note, we were absolutely amazed to see how these super young, brilliant girls were so interested in engineering and STEM disciplines.
The two hours session was engaging, which is not necessarily a given with such a young audience, and the girls were fully invested in digging into the technology behind KORU. One of the things that impressed us the most was their already mature understanding of the importance of being curious, investigative, and determined.
Being invited to participate in Girl’s Day was for us an incredible experience and privilege, and we are already strengthening our future collaborations with the University of Kassel.
We both believe in a world where opportunities are not defined by anything other than a someone’s ability, passion, and determination; and having the chance to talk with such a great audience about the importance of these values is what inspires us to pursue them every day.