The History of Connect
Back in 2006 staff within the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and the Creative Industries received feedback from female students on their experiences of being a student at, what was then, Napier University. The students said that because they were often the only girl, or perhaps one of two, on their course that they could sometimes feel a bit isolated and that they would really appreciate being able to meet other female students within the faculty.
In response to this feedback a forum for women students was established that year and was led by a group of students with support from staff. It was called SSF4F (Student Support Forum 4 Females).
As part of starting up the forum, research was carried out. This showed that female students within FECCI wanted:
- To meet other female students within the faculty
- Support at particular points in their university experience such as the first term and on placement
- Contact with recent graduates and women working in the field
- Careers advice and links with industry
So this is what SSF4F aimed to provide through a series of events and online resources. The Forum received a number of awards including funding from the Doris Gray Trust and the WiSE Excellence Awards.
In 2008 the forum went through a rebrand and became Connect: the network for females within FECCI.
Also at this time and following on from the success of Connect, the Scottish Resource Centre for Women in SET (now called Equate Scotland), which is based at Edinburgh Napier, received funding from the Scottish Funding Council to take the Connect concept across the whole of Scotland – this resulted in the development of Interconnect: the network for women studying science, engineering and technology subjects in Scotland.