Our monthly spotlight features Sarah van der Schans. Sarah is studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) with a major in Product Design - and first engaged with TOM: Melbourne for our 2021 Makeathon on Team Charlie.
Sarah has a passion for sustainability and humanitarian innovation. Her interest in these areas stems from a love of applying engineering to benefit others by using empathy and designing for their needs.
This year, Sarah is participating in our TOM@University program as part of her final year project at Swinburne University. Let's get to know Sarah and why she chose to lend her time and skills across many of TOM: Melbourne's programs.
Image description: Sarah smiling in front of a grey background
How did you come to be involved in the TOM: Melbourne Makeathon?
I heard about TOM: Melbourne through my university, and the organisation's values and mission resonated with me. In 2021, I was looking for opportunities to expand my skills and wanted to be involved with TOM: Melbourne in anyway I could. I came across the Makeathon during this time and it sounded like an exciting and empowering opportunity. I applied and I am so glad that I was able to be a part of the program.
What was your experience participating in the Makeathon?
The Makeathon was incredible! I don’t think I have ever been surrounded by so many like-minded, enthusiastic, and intelligent people. The energy was amazing, and it was so nice to see everyone working so hard towards developing solutions with the Need-Knowers. Being able to work directly with my team and Need-Knower, and getting involved in creating a working prototype were the highlights of the program for me. As an engineer, it really showed me the importance of user-centred design and working in a cross-disciplinary team.
We delighted that you’re still involved with TOM: Melbourne and now taking part in the TOM@Uni program! What made you decide want to participate in the program's challenge for your final year project?
I loved my experience in the Makeathon and it gave me a lot of energy and motivation working directly with the end user, the Need-Knower. I wanted my final year project to have a real and positive impact on someone’s life and working with TOM: Melbourne again fit that goal. I love what the TOM team are aiming to do and I wanted to be part of that in a bigger capacity. I am excited to see how the year goes and I am so grateful to be working with TOM: Melbourne!