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Women conquer male domains: For Emma Löhner, it all started on Girls’ Day

Technical courses in particular are still considered a male domain. But the story of 21-year-old mechanical engineering student Emma Löhner shows why reservations and misgivings are misplaced and why women in particular should have confidence in their technical interest and talents.

Emma Löhner at work A. W. Faber-Castell Cosmetic GmbH; Image: private;

Ms. Löhner, when did you realize as a child and young girl that you had a soft spot for things that traditionally tend to excite men?

I noticed early on that I was very fascinated by technical things, which is why I worked a lot on the house and farm in Geroldsgrün (district of Hof) when I was young. My dad explained and taught me a lot. I developed a special enthusiasm for the cordless screwdriver as a small child. I also always enjoyed science school subjects like math, physics and technology.

…and the family supported that….

Absolutely, especially since as an only child I always take on the role of a son as well. Throughout my life, my parents have supported me in my decisions and also always told me to do what I enjoy and not what others expect of me. That has helped me a lot and I am very grateful to them for that.

How did you first become aware of Girls Day at Hof University?

Honestly, I can’t really say anymore, but knowing my mom, she read about it in the newspaper and asked me if I would be interested. Of course, I was immediately excited when I heard what it was all about – girls and technology – so it was just right for me.

But you were actually too young to participate…how did it work out anyway?

Since I was only 11 years old at the time and Girlsday was for all girls over 12, we were initially worried that I wouldn’t be allowed to participate yet. But simply accepting this and postponing participation until next year was not an option for us. So my mom contacted Gabriele Eiber from the Hof University of Applied Sciences to clarify with her whether there was a possibility that I could participate. In the end, it was no problem and I was overjoyed.

In any case, the insights into technical processes seem to have had an effect, because you took part in Girls Day in each of the following years. Do you remember what was on offer then?

One thing I remember particularly well was that we were allowed to weld screwmen. Learning to weld at such a young age (even though the result may not have been particularly pretty) was really great. Other stations like building a cell phone holder and programming a small robot also brought a lot of joy and fun.

Our sources say: You knew at all times that you wanted to study at Hof University of Applied Sciences. Is that true, and what in particular appealed to you?

As soon as I entered the university for the first time, I immediately felt at home. I can’t say why, but I liked it there right away. The lab engineers who supervised the individual stations also added to the feeling of well-being. Everyone was very nice and I felt very well taken care of. Even years later, the feeling has not changed and the desire to study at Hof University of Applied Sciences has become stronger and stronger.

You have been a student at Hof University for a while now. Why did you choose mechanical engineering in particular?

When the time came in 2018 and I had to decide on a course of study, I was not yet 100% sure that my choice would be mechanical engineering. I vacillated between materials engineering, industrial engineering and mechanical engineering. The latter then convinced me that the course was very broad and that I would then also have the opportunity to specialize in all possible directions.

Emma Löhner; picture: private;

What can you say about your fellow students and lecturers after your time at Hof so far?

It didn’t take long back then for me to become friends with many of my fellow students and I would say that contact with them was and is also very important. I’m talking about the times before Corona when I say that studying together between lectures, common breaks in the cafeteria and even just “silly chatter” in between made my studies special. Of course, lectures, exams and generally completing your studies should be in the foreground, but without the aforementioned, in my opinion, studying is not really studying. I feel all the more sorry for the students who haven’t really been able to experience this yet because of the pandemic. In the end, I have been really enthusiastic about my fellow students so far. The lecturers also do their best to get us students through our studies successfully and support where they can.

What advice do you have for young women who might be hesitant to enroll in degree programs that used to be very male-dominated?

I can only say very clearly here: do what you enjoy and are interested in. Don’t let others push you in a different direction. No matter how difficult your studies may be, if they suit you, you’ll get through them successfully. Even if we women are still the minority, I can say from my experience that men are very accepting of you as a woman.

Date notice

Hof University of Applied Sciences will also participate in the next Girls’ Day. It will take place on April 28, 2022. More information about the workshops offered then and how they will be held will be announced in good time

Rainer Krauß

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