Girls' Day arouses curiosity for technical professions

For this year's Girls' Day, schoolgirls at the TU Ilmenau got in touch with technology and natural sciences. In the laboratories of the university, they were familiarized with many fields of application in engineering.

TU Ilmenau/Dino Junski
The offer of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Informatics (BMTI) attracted a particularly large number of female participants. The girls tested a novel cap that can measure electrical brain activity with dry electrodes and completely without gel.

What does heart rate tell us about our state of health? Can you measure headaches? And how many springs are installed in a car? This year's Girls' Day aroused a lot of curiosity in girls for natural sciences and technology. In the laboratories of the TU Ilmenau, they came into contact with the university's research. They visited test benches at the Thuringian Innovation Center for Mobility (ThIMo), the media lab, the biomedical engineering labs or the machine hall in the Newton Building. The university's scientists answered all their questions about science and technology.

The Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Informatics (BMTI) attracted a particularly large number of participants. Here, the 5th to 9th grade girls learned about technology that is used in doctors' offices and hospitals for the diagnosis and therapy of diseases. The girls tried out the equipment in small experiments and hands-on activities. They measured their muscle activity , evaluated CT scans and tested a new type of cap that can measure electrical brain activity using dry electrodes and no gel at all.

For many years, the BMTI's Girls' Day offering has been in high demand among girls from the region. The biomedical engineering program is also popular with young women, with female students making up about 50 percent of the students in the program. Dr.-Ing. Eva-Maria Dölker, a research associate at the Biomedical Engineering Group, knows why her subject is so popular with young women:

The combination of medicine and engineering makes biomedical engineering so interesting. We develop technology that helps people. When girls come to us and experience in practice exactly what medical technology is and what it is used for, they become curious about the subject and see it as a potential study option after they graduate from high school.

Designing novel devices as women engineers

The 8th grade students were able to experience on site what fields of application are open to female engineers outside of medical technology in the "Ran an die Technik" ("Let's get technical") program. At ThIMo, they learned that particulate matter is caused not only by engines but also by tires and brakes. Afterwards, they tried their hand as racing drivers at a simulation booth. In the university's TV studio, they took a seat in the director's chair and briefly became TV producers. In the Newton Building, they were able to get an overview of numerous machines for various production processes - including machines for manufacturing technical springs. Dr.-Ing. Veronika Geinitz from the Machine Elements Group familiarized the girls with technical springs of all shapes and sizes. The scientist researches spring technology with great enthusiasm and encouraged the participants to pursue their interest in technology and ignore outdated role models:

In the past, technical professions were considered typically male, and working with machines was often physically demanding. Today, we are far removed from that. As engineers, women can think things up just as well as men, design new types of equipment or develop materials.

Girls' Day is a nationwide orientation day for girls to find out about careers and studies. It is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. On Girls' Day, girls learn about professions or fields of study in the areas of IT, crafts, natural sciences and technology and meet female role models in leadership positions in science, business and politics.

More information about offers for schoolgirls and schoolboys at the TU Ilmenau can be found at:

Would you also like to take a look inside the machine hall? Or find out about the future of mobility at ThIMo? Then come and visit us at the Ilmenau Science Night on July 1!