Casting a new light on maths – UWE attends a careers fair

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The Boxed team alongside student ambassadors took their new “Maths in the Real World” box into Hardenhuish School, Chippenham, for a careers fair on 26th November 2019.

Although there was limited space to operate it, the team reported that the 400 students from years 7-13 seemed to really enjoy the new activity.

The new Maths box puts the traditionally dry subject into a new light. ‘Mini’ problems are used to highlight how Maths can be applied to different careers in unexpected industries. Utilising higher-level techniques, students worked their way through each activity in pairs to gain a better understanding of the different ways maths is utilised and used across different career paths; A- Archeologist, B, Bioaccoustician, C – Cartographer etc.

And an added bonus – in and around these activities, the student ambassadors were able to big up studying at UWE Bristol.

Thanks for having us Hardenhuish!

“Being different is a strength in engineering”

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Maryam Lamere

In recognition of the department’s equity, diversity and inclusion, Engineering, Design and Mathematics (EDM) was recently re-awarded the Athena Swan Bronze Award. Graduate tutor and member of EDM’s Athena Swan committee, Maryam Lamere explains how the department supports diversity and caters for families.

In her own words, as a black, Muslim, woman, Maryam is “a minority, within the minorities”. However, she doesn’t view the multi-faceted aspects of her identity as a barrier in EDM.

“I don’t allow my identity to become a barrier to reaching my goals. EDM’s friendly and supportive environment makes me feel confident to fully own my identity. Here, my differences are my strength.

EDM celebrates diversity and believes that engineering as a profession benefits when people bring in various perspectives and are able to tackle problems from different angles. Gender, cultural and neuro-diversity can all be useful in the workplace.”

Maryam Lamere

Maryam teaches undergraduate students, while also working to transfer UWE technology (pee powered electronics) to communities in Africa for her PhD. Since starting the role, Maryam’s family has grown, and she was able to fluctuate her hours to balance childcare needs.

“EDM is really good at making things manageable for people who have families. I have a young family, with three little boys now aged three, five and seven, and if this role hadn’t have been so flexible it would have been pretty challenging to pull it all together.”

Maryam Lamere
Maryam speaking to students during project week Nov 2019

Changing the image of engineering

There’s no denying that engineering needs a change of image to encourage young people to fill the engineering skills and diversity shortfall in the UK. In a bid to overturn the narrow stereotype of engineering, the Royal Academy of Engineering launched their image library in November 2019, to demonstrate the diversity of the profession – see if you can spot Maryam and other engineers in the department!

UWE has also signed the pledge below, promising to make representative images of engineers and engineering more visible to the public.

Women in Research – want a mentor?

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The 2020/21 Women Researchers Mentoring Scheme (WRMS) is now open for applications for both mentees and mentors.

The WRMS scheme aims to promote and facilitate professional development for women in academic or researcher roles at UWE Bristol, helping them reach senior research roles.

Each mentee will be matched to a mentor, male or female and training will be provided to all new participants.

WRMS is co-chaired by Dr Laura Fogg-Rogers in EDM and coordinated by Fiona Watt (Fiona.watt@uwe.ac.uk). Further details of the scheme including how to apply is available on the Women Researchers Mentoring Scheme webpages.

Deadline for application is Wednesday 15 January 2020 at 5pm.

Prof becomes Honorary Fellow for the Royal Aeronautical Society

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The Royal Aeronautical Society’s 2019 Honours, Medals and Awards were announced at a ceremony held at the Society’s headquarters on Monday 25th November 2019.
Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor at UWE, Raj Nangia, can be seen on the right-hand side in the red scarf.

Raj, recently joined the ranks of Orville Wright, Dr. von Karman, Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, Sir Frank Whittle and Major Tim Peake, in being awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

The award is for engineering excellence of the highest calibre and recognises Raj’s international contributions in aerodynamic designs in both the civil and military sectors, from Concorde to the Harrier and Typhoon.

Having worked in the field for fifty years with companies such as Airbus, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, as well as government agencies, Raj is recognised as a global authority, and his work has influenced the design of many aircraft from small UAVs to large subsonic heavy-lift transport aircraft, to supersonic passenger aircraft.

Please see the official announcement and details of winners.

Congratulations Raj!

Developing industrial insight amongst diverse engineering students’

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Udonna Okeke, leader of EDM’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Programme, together with the Student Experience Team, partnered with the Royal Academy of Engineering in the 2019 Graduate Engineering Engagement Programme (GEEP). The programme focuses on bringing together the most successful and talented engineers from across the engineering sectors for a shared purpose; to advance and promote excellence in engineering, and to increase the transition of diverse engineering graduates from diverse backgrounds into engineering employment.

Through this partnership, five EDM students were sent to a Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) London event. SEO London prepare talented students from ethnic minority or low socioeconomic backgrounds for career success, and on 19th to 20th of November 2019 EDM students attended the SEO GEEP programme of events.

The programme mentored, nurtured and supported the students in developing industry insights, inclusivity and diversity, CV writing, interview and presentation skills.

Below is some of the feedback from the students that attended:

“I found it useful to gain the knowledge on how to create a CV, how to prepare myself for an interview of every kind and how to stay in touch with future and past employers.”

“I would say that I met a lot of diverse people, we worked great as a group for that 2-day event and the network we built would be very useful in the future.”

“The time spent talking to different companies helped me make it clear for myself how I want to further develop myself. It brightened my horizons and I wish I had the opportunity to be part of this event earlier in my studies.”

“This is one of the reasons I would definitely recommend sending more students to such events. I have already told my friends all about it and few of them are interested in the event happening on 4th-5th of December in Manchester”.

“Thanks to Udonna and EDM for giving me the opportunity to be part of the engineering future.”

“I would 100% recommend that students attend in the future! It was exceptionally helpful for everyone and the general thoughts from all students was that it was extremely helpful.”

Making children’s inventions a reality

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UWE Bristol partners with the Leaders Award, an annual children’s engineering competition, to help run the competitions’ masterclass, grading days and celebration events in the South West. Last year Engineering students made a prototype of one of the winning inventions – a car braking systems where the red braking lights vary in intensity according to the pressure applied to the brake. This year, a new team of engineers are making children’s ideas into reality…

Second year mechanical engineering student – Georgina Packham – is heading up the ‘EWB UWE’ team to try and make a ‘Rain Catcher’.

The Rain Catcher was designed by Year 1 student from Headley Park Primary School, Tristan Sta Ines – pictured here.

The design’s purpose is to catch the rain which then turns into clean water. This benefits those who are thirsty helping to keep them healthy.

“We chose the Rain Catcher as we are not aware of any existing products that function in all the same ways that this design does, and we were also instantly drawn to the bright colours of the design. Tristan’s design will not only have little to no negative impact on the environment, but could also benefit those who don’t have easy access to clean water.”

Georgina explained why EWB UWE chose Tristan’s design.

The rest of the team is comprised of first year Engineering, Design and Mathematics students, Chase McLaughlin, Simbarashe Sibanda and Sonny Ngo.

Good luck team EWB UWE!

UWE students challenge kids with engineering activities

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Last week engineering and teaching students teamed up to bring engineering challenges to children across schools in Bristol.

The 35 engineering students and 22 education students currently taking the Engineering in Society module, used their different skill bases to peer mentor one another, and then deliver engaging activities to ~720 pupils at six Bristol schools on Wednesday 27th November.

Children aged 8 – 11 years old at Bannerman Road, Hambrook, Illminster Avenue, May Park, Shield Road and Victoria Park Primary Schools took part in one or more of the activities:

  • Gliders (High Flyers)
  • Floating Platform (High and Dry)
  • Vacuum Cleaner (Super Sucker)

Senior Lecturer from UWE Bristol and module lead, Dr Laura Fogg-Rogers was enthusiastic about the engineering day. “Visiting our engineers as they undertake their education outreach is always an exciting experience. Not only do we see our students flourishing, but I can see the impact they are having on the children as well. There is always so much fun and excitement in the classrooms as the children come up with their own designs!”

“Engineering can change the world, basically”

“This is the best day of my life!”

“Engineering can make life better for us all”

Quotes from participating children

UWE Taster Day for Year 12s

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33 local Year 12 students spent a day in the Engineering Design and Mathematics (EDM) Department, getting a taste for engineering and mathematics.

Rachel Szadziewska, EDM Associate Head of Department (Student Experience), introduced the day with a jigsaw ice breaker and then the students were broken into groups to take part in a range of problem based learning activities.

“From jigsaws that weren’t quite what they seemed through to learning the fundamentals of engineering stress and strain, density and material identification. The students seemed to have a good time and have hopefully been inspired to pursue a career in engineering.”

Rachel Szadziewska
An example of one of the maths based problem solving activities the students worked through.

What kind of engineer could you become?

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Engineering UK have released a short, fun careers quiz and whether you’re just starting out, or ready to think about your next steps, this is the quiz for YOU – Meet the Future You

Ever wondered what an engineer does? Could you see yourself exploring outer space, protecting the environment, designing apps or developing cures for diseases? Engineers do all this, and more!

There are eight questions about lifestyle and interests, which are used to match you to 12 different potential fields of engineering:

  • Coding Legends
  • Civilisation Savers
  • Crime Preventers
  • Cure Creators
  • Electric Dynamos
  • Materials Makers
  • Future Lifesavers
  • Mechanical Marvels
  • Electron Pioneers
  • Sea Crusaders
  • Universe Explorers

Take the quiz and get ready to be inspired…

Find out more about the importance of diversity in engineering

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Why is diversity important in engineering? According to, the Royal Academy of Engineering, addressing diversity and inclusion not only helps to bridge the UK’s engineering skills gap, it also drives innovation and creativity. 

“Addressing diversity and inclusion will not only help bridge this gap, it will also help drive innovation and creativity”. 

Royal Academy of Engineering

They present a business case for diversity which includes:

  • Addressing the engineering skills gap;
  • Improved financial importance;
  • Greater innovation and creativity;
  • Inclusion-driven higher business performance;
  • Increased motivation, productivity and retention;
  • Improved customer orientation, and
  • Increased customer satisfaction.

Retention of women in engineering in particular received attention this summer when UWE’s Dr Laura Fogg Rogers and Dr Laura Hobbs published their paper ‘Catch 22 — improving visibility of women in science and engineering for both recruitment and retention‘. Drawing on their mentoring and outreach project Women Like Me, which relaunches next week, they propose that enhancing self-efficacy (Laura Fogg Rogers, along with Dr Tim Moss, also recently published research on a new Engineering Outreach Self-Efficacy Scale) for female scientists and engineers to mentor others will generate more supportive workplaces. Alongside this, supporting a female STEM professionals to undertake public engagement activities improves the visibility of diverse female role models for young girls. Ultimately, these social connections will enhance science capital for girls and other minorities.

Diversity in engineering isn’t just important in the UK. Sharon L. Walker writes about why diversity is key to the future of engineering for the University of California, highlighting the low proportion of women and people with Latino and African-American heritage in the US engineering workforce. Innovation and talent, profit, fair treatment and shifting demographics are explored as some of the reasons behind the need for a more diverse future workforce.

And Kerry Baker, posting on STEM Learning on the importance of diversity in engineering, explains how this affects all of us:

“…have you ever used something and thought: “This doesn’t work how I would like it to” or “If I’d made this I would have put it together differently”? If the answer is yes, then this is the reason why engineering needs people from all backgrounds and walks of life, it needs people with all sorts of different life experiences and thought processes”.

STEM Learning