Young women explore biomechanics-based career options

21 JUNE 2024

Young women explore biomechanics-based career options

Charles Sturt University supports the participation of female high school students in biomechanics-based STEMM and future career options.

  • Charles Sturt University supports the participation of female high school students in biomechanics-based STEMM and future career options

Charles Sturt University in Bathurst continues to encourage girls interested in STEMM education and careers by hosting female students from Orange High School in the annual national Biomechanics Research and Innovation Challenge (BRInC).

STEMM disciplines are science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.

Dr Kerry Mann, a Lecturer in Exercise Science/Biomechanics in the Charles Sturt School of Allied Health, Exercise and Exercise Science in Bathurst, hosted six female students from Orange High School at Charles Sturt in Bathurst in June for a data collection session for their BRInC project.

This is the third year Dr Mann has supported cohorts of female high school students in the BRInC program since the inaugural 2022 program.

This year, the six Year 9 girls from Orange High School are Lyla Callaway, Ella Priest, Meakah Chippendale, Madeline Harrison, Ally Mae Garlick and Aria Belmonte.

Leg data pointsDr Mann said this year the girls have a keen interest in sports and have decided to investigate and design a product using their newly discovered knowledge and love of biomechanics.

“The girls are designing a shoe innersole which can turn any shoe into a ‘sports shoe’,” Dr Mann said.

“This allows shoes, such as a Converse, to imitate the sports shoe properties, such as shock absorption and ankle and arch support.”

The students’ recent visit to the Exercise Science Lab at Charles Sturt in Bathurst allowed them to measure the forces and movement of running and jumping while wearing different kinds of shoes and using the 3D motion capture system and the piezoelectric force plates to help shape the design and features of the innersole.

“Schools from across Australia were involved in the inaugural BRInC program and have continued their involvement this year working with other mentors located at universities across Australia and New Zealand,” Dr Mann said.

“This is not a competition, but rather an initiative to increase awareness and participation of girls in biomechanics-based STEMM and provide them with access to real-world women role models working in the field to highlight what some of the career possibilities are.”

While at the campus, they also checked out other features the Exercise Science Labs have to offer.

Dr Mann said biomechanics is the application of mechanics principles to the study of living or biological systems.

“We study how humans move, function and recover from injury using physics, maths and science applications all applied to the human body,” she said.

“Biomechanics applies to many disciplines beyond sport and exercise. For example, the biomechanics of how a tendon reacts to forces applied on it is important for both physiotherapy and medicine. There are several other applications in engineering and design. Biomechanics is everywhere.”

Some examples of careers in biomechanics include sports biomechanist (testing and analysing elite athletes), biomedical engineering and product design (developing medical devices), rehabilitation (correct movement patterns) and research (scientific discoveries).

“The girls have been so excited to work on this project and they have come up with some fantastic features to include in the product design,” Dr Mann said.

“It’s not so much about what the project is, but more the process, the skills and the aspirations that being in the program provides.

“STEMM is typically a very male dominated domain and the BRInC program provides girls, who are starting to consider their career options, the opportunity to see and explore a career they may have never considered.”

The students will make their final project presentation, including their journey, to other BRInC mentors and student groups on Wednesday 24 July.


Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Dr Kerry Mann, contact Bruce Andrews at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0418 669 362 or

Photo (main, left to right): Orange High School students Madeline Harrison, Ella Priest, Aria Belmonte, Lyla Callaway (front centre), Meakah Chippendale and Ally Mae Garlick at the Charles Sturt Exercise Science Lab in Bathurst

Photo in text: data tracking points on athlete’s legs

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