Teen innovators overcome gender barrier to lead next gen
When two girls walked into the all-male engineering classroom at their high school the reception they received was as robotic as the machines they were excited to make.
Chancellor State College Year 12 students Tahlia Harris, 17 and Ioana Oprescu, 16, worked in a separate room to the boys when they first started working on robotics.
A lot has changed since then.
With a number of national innovation awards under their belts they have proven their ability.
At 15, they gained international exposure with the creation of a smart watch for people with Parkinson’s disease.
The watch, which was awarded first place in the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards, tracks and analyses a patient’s tremor and sets reminders for medication.
“One of our teachers at school has Parkinson’s,” Tahlia said.
“We watched him slowly recede from the community.
“He loves the watch and he helps us to try and push it further.”
The girls are committed to seeing how their generation can have an impact in the community.
“I like the idea of being able to create something that can have an impact on people’s lives,” Tahlia said.
They have joined forces to create Gear Up Robotics and are hosting two school holiday workshops for girls from ages 8 to 14.
“The workshops are targeted at the age group so the girls can develop the skills and knowledge they need a lot early when it is easier for them to be welcomed into the stem community,” Tahlia said.
The workshops will be held at Peregian Digital Hub on Thursday and Friday from 9am to 1pm.