Delivering Outreach during a Pandemic

Guest Writer
Toni McLaughlin
Outreach Convenor
FemEng 2020/21


Outreach to most means engaging the younger generations through school visits and the delivery of practical activities in the classroom.

But in 2020 this was not an option, as COVID-19 meant visiting schools and meeting teachers and pupils was not possible as the world faced the pandemic.

FemEng is a society at the University of Glasgow with the aims of empowering women in engineering and the pandemic was not going to stop us sharing the wonders of STEM.


FemEng committee and members attending our Outreach Training last year (2019/20 - pre-COVID)

FemEng committee and members attending our Outreach Training last year (2019/20 – pre-COVID)


My role as the Outreach Convenor for FemEng would normally be to arrange events/workshops that would be delivered in schools and to make sure our amazing members can be there in person to inspire pupils from local nursery, primary and secondary schools.

Unfortunately, FemEng could not deliver Outreach in the traditional way, so we had to think fast and create a programme to reach more pupils, but ensure the delivery was still as exciting as our face-to-face events: we achieved this through our Virtual Outreach Programme. The workshops describe the different disciplines within engineering from aeronautical, to biomedical, to civil and mechanical and we did that through a series of video sessions allowing the children to create and give engineering a go.

This Programme is a pre-recorded video series, featured on FemEng’s YouTube Channel. In these videos, pupils (aged eight to twelve – Primary 6 and 7) work alongside an engineering student and learn about the specific engineering disciplines as well as create a craft at the end from gliders, to their very own DNA model.


Thumbnail from Workshop 1 – Aeronautical Engineering on the FemEng YouTube channel


I appreciate this is a trying time for most but with this programme I hope we can shed some light on the importance of enabling young people to produce crafts they are proud of, learn something new and gain confidence in their own abilities. FemEng and (I in particular) believe that it is crucial to inspire the next generation of engineers and promote STEM to pupils curious to learn, create and explore.

With regards to what is next? We have shared our videos with our first group of participating schools and our mentors will be having virtual Q+A calls to bring a sense of normality and engage in an interactive STEM discussion.


FemEng: Empowering Women in Engineering 

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Twitter @uofgfemeng