Rebecca Watts wins 2018 MECCA M-Power Mentoring Scholarship

EWB Australia member and engineer, Rebecca Watts has been awarded the 2018 Engineers Without Borders Australia/MECCA M-Power Mentoring Scholarship for her project ‘Connecting the Unconnected’ which aims to inspire, connect and empower women and girls from all ages and backgrounds to be leaders in the fields of STEM.

The MECCA M-Power Mentoring Scholarship is a 12-month program created with the aim to propel the careers of extraordinary women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), social enterprise and The Arts. In partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria, Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Australia, the Foundation for Young Australians, the program supports women and girls to realise their potential through access to funding, mentoring and learning opportunities with industry experts and MECCA Brands’ specialists.

Rebecca Watts
 

 

 

Building on the work of Chelsea Hayward, winner of the 2017 EWB Australia/MECCA M-Power Mentoring Scholarship, Rebecca’s project will continue to champion the STEM education movement, through initiatives to specifically engage female and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, who are currently underrepresented in STEM fields.

“The underrepresentation of women and diversity in general in STEM has been in the national spotlight recently, and rightly so as the statistics are striking,” says Rebecca. “My work will focus on increasing the impact of EWB Australia's School Outreach program, which has provided hands-on humanitarian STEM workshops to over 13,000 students. Building the capacity of EWB Australia's volunteers, and connecting with a wider community of influencers, the project aims to create long-lasting change in inspiring, connecting and empowering female and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to pursue STEM education and career paths.”

Rebecca’s first encounter with EWB Australia and humanitarian engineering was in her first year at university through the EWB Challenge, but her interest in engineering started much earlier. “From an early age, I had fantastic role models who inspired me to pursue a career in engineering,” says Rebecca “I experienced the power of role models, especially in early education. In the EWB School Outreach program, half of the presenters are women studying engineering at university. Providing hands-on humanitarian STEM workshops and sharing their experiences in engineering, these women are role models and demonstrate to young women and girls that they too can be engineers and help build the future.”

 
 

Rebecca is an avid humanitarian engineer, having begun her career working in Cambodia as EWB Australia Program Facilitator for a Solar Energy Project. Applying the principles of human-centred design, Rebecca spent time with community members to empathise with their needs and understand how solar energy could be appropriately implemented. “Access to electricity underpins all areas of development and I saw firsthand in Cambodia how it transforms lives. An English and Maths education initiative started by a local community member, was impossible to run before there was solar powered lights in the community. These experiences really opened my eyes to the world of opportunities in STEM,” she explains.

Rebecca and other scholarship recipients will have one-on-one access to the in-house expertise of MECCA Brands' business leaders across the finance, strategy, marketing, education, talent and culture teams at the MECCA M-Power Mentoring Week in January 2019, in the MECCA Brands Support Centre.  “I am excited by the opportunity to work with EWB Australia and MECCA Brands,” Rebecca says “to inspire, connect and empower women and girls of all ages and backgrounds to pursue STEM education, and lead the charge in shaping a better future.”