By: Ivy Mauya Chipinda
My name is Ivy Mauya Chipinda, but I also go as ZimEngineerGirl. I am originally from Zimbabwe and I study Mechanical Engineering and Actuarial Science at Calvin College here in America. I am passionate about encouraging girls to study engineering which is why I coordinate outreach for the Calvin SWE Collegiate section and also started a Girls in Engineering Club at my alma mater in Zimbabwe. This club is the first step in creating a women in engineering organization at a national level in Zimbabwe. You can follow my page on Facebook called Zimbabwe Women Engineers.
Coming from a background where most people believe that engineering is not a woman’s job, I saw this as an opportunity to prove those people wrong and to educate my fellow women who are discriminated against being in this field. Doing outreach just brings joy to my life.
This January, I was able to launch a girls in engineering club at my alma mater, Waddilove High School in Zimbabwe. The club has twenty 10th grade girls. Our kickstarting activity was the marshmallow challenge and the girls really enjoyed it. We only had one standing structure but trust me, it was a really great learning experience for all of us. The girls were able to learn about the importance of prototyping, iterating and collaborating in order to flourish in an innovative and creative space. I was also able to introduce them to different types of engineering.
After the end of the event, most of the girls showed interest in the engineering field. They started to ask me questions about how to get involved as a club and when I would come back to do other engineering related activities with them. Therefore, I will be planning more activities that they can do during the school year so that they can learn more about the field and stay motivated. My former physics teacher Mr. Gomo will be supervising these activities since I won’t be in Zimbabwe during the school year.
The girls also loved their “Watch me change the world” t-shirts that were donated by the Society of Women Engineers. They wear school uniforms so we hope that they will be allowed to rock their swag during sports events.