More inspiration into engineering!

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UWE engineering students, alumni and staff have recorded home-videos to inspire children into engineering. This is the second post sharing some of these videos – you can catch up on two Aerospace Engineering students enthusiasm for engineering in the first post.

Here we’re sharing the insight and enthusiasm of two amazing female engineers:

  • UWE alumni – Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee
  • UWE lecturer and PhD researcher – Maryam Lamere

Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee

Krystina gives a little insight into her job at BAE Systems, alongside sharing some top tips, how she’s overcome challenges and why she’s excited for the future of engineering.

Maryam Lamere

Maryam loves engineering and speaks a little about her research into pee-powered electricity. Most of all, she emphasises that a good engineer never gives up!

Are you a UWE engineering student, alumni or staff and have a story you’d like to share? Please get in touch with me at louisa.cockbill@uwe.ac.uk to get your own home-video featured and shared to inspire the next generation of engineers!

International Women In Engineering Day

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International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) is tomorrow – 23rd July – and is an opportunity to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry.

The theme for this year’s INWED is “Shape the World”, and there are lots of ways you can take part…

Or read about some of EDM’s inspirational women.

On 10th June women in UWE’s Engineering, Design and Mathematics department took part in celebrating the million women now working in STEM industries in the UK. They shared photos and stories to inspire other women in engineering. Read more here.

Six UWE engineers who are proud to be #1ofthemillion women in STEM in the UK

Other INWED events can be found here: http://www.inwed.org.uk/activities.html

Sign up to mentor girls into STEM – online!

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Cajigo is a mobile learning platform that empowers girls and women to reach their full potential through focused mentoring and support. And they’re on the lookout for new mentors!

Read on to find out more about the platform and how you could get involved…

Addressing the Gender Imbalance

In STEM industries female representation remains under 20% worldwide, and with many schools lacking girls taking STEM subjects at A level, this gender imbalance shows no sign of changing soon. With predictions that the next decade will see 80% of jobs requiring STEM skills, new solutions are badly needed to encourage women into STEM.

Cajigo School’s Programme works with education and businesses to signpost STEM industry careers to girls early on. This can have a huge positive effect on girls – inspiring, motivating and empowering them with the belief that they can reach their highest potential in these fields.

Cajigo aims to demystify STEM and digital careers to capture young minds, connecting careers to passions to get young girls excited about working within STEM and digital fields.

“Cajigo is a practical way, not only to increase diversity but also to make it a strategic imperative within the business”

Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, President techUK, Chair of Digital Leaders

Online Mentoring

During the current lockdown, many girls would benefit from developing STEM skills whilst at home. And with evidence suggesting those from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented groups are likely to be left behind during this time, Cajigo is running as an online solution to keep these populations engaged and motivated in STEM.

The Cajigo Schools programme mentors and supports girls (aged 13 years and upwards) on option choices and their career development using a blended learning approach. This involves a 3-hour workshop, in addition to online learning through Cajigo (an App), and guidance and support from role models and industry mentors.

And that’s where you could come in!

Mentoring gives students access to visible and relatable female role models who help to inspire, motivate and signpost careers.

Cajigo also offers support to women in the workplace, career changers, returners and University students.

If you are keen to offer support in mentoring the next generation of female engineers and digital technologists, please contact Rav Bumbra, who’ll talk you through the process – team@cajigo.com

Cajigo is the social learning and development arm of Structur3dpeople, a company that helps organisations attract and retain diverse talent and focuses on supporting more women into STEM, digital and leadership careers.

Sharing the faces of women in STEM

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We’re joining Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) to celebrate the recently reached milestone – 1 million women working in core STEM in the UK.

Today, WISE are running their 1 of the Million Campaign – sharing photos of women in STEM to put a personal face to those million.

And in EDM we’re taking part too! Take a look at the WISE campaign’s twitter feed to spot some of our fabulous women.

It’s all about showcasing that STEM is for everyone – so why not share your photo today?

You just have to take a selfie with a placard saying what you do at UWE, or even why you are passionate about STEM – then upload your photo on the WISE webpage (and send me a copy – engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk)

Insight into EDM’s inspirational women

EDM women are pictured above taking part in WISE’s 1 of the million campaign and you can read about some of their career stories below…

Senior Lecturer in Statistics, Narges Dailami tells her story, “I am a senior lecturer in statistics at EDM UWE. I have always loved maths and wanted to pursue a career in it from a young age. I was 18 when I arrived from Persia but I had to spend my time learning English in order to achieve this dream in the UK. After gaining a First in Maths from Sheffield University my passion grew and I completed a Masters in Probability and Statistics then went on to complete my PhD in statistics. I am proud of what I have achieved and although my journey was difficult at times, no amount of adversity or challenges was going to stop me achieving what I set out to do at 18.” 
Read about why Head of EDM, Lisa Brodie, recommends engineering to young people.
Or find out how Maryam Lamere, PhD student and Associate Lecturer, finds "being different a strength in engineering".

Celebrating Women in STEM!

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Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) have worked hard over the years to transform the face of the workforce, and this June we are joining them to celebrate their recently reached milestone – 1 million women working in core STEM in the UK.

EDM supports gender equality in STEM and recognises the vital contribution women are making, so we’re partnering with WISE, and other STEM organisations in the UK, to help put a personal face to the million.

As part of this 1 of the Million Campaign, we’ll be sharing photos and some stories of the women making a difference in EDM at UWE Bristol. All helping to showcase that STEM is for everyone – hopefully encouraging more girls into STEM!

So whether you’re a women in STEM or a champion of gender balance across sectors, take part in WISE’s #1ofTheMillion day on Twitter. You just have to take a selfie with a placard saying what you do at UWE, or even why you are passionate about STEM – then upload your photo on the WISE webpage and they’ll share it on the WISE Twitter account on June 10th.

You can find out more about getting involved by taking a look at the 1 of the Million Campaign Pack (which includes the official blank campaign placard).

In this time of uncertainty, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of one thing that is certain – women strengthen our STEM workforce! So to kick us off early – here are just two of EDM’s fabulous 1 of the million women:

EDM, a “nurturing familial environment”

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Picture features (L-R) April Coombes (UWE), Professor Melvyn Smith (UWE), Dr Gytis Bernotas (UWE), Dr Mark Hansen (UWE), Geraint Jones (Innovate UK), James Theobald (Agsenze) at the Agri-EPI Centre in Shepton Mallet. (Originally published here)

Senior Research Fellow in EDM’s Machine Vision group, Mark Hansen, researches machine learning and computer vision, with a particular focus recently on agritech applications. This has included successfully moving many technologies into industry, from dairy herd monitors, to facial and emotional recognition in pigs, to counting and sizing potatoes as they come out the ground. (Read this blog post on the latest developments from the Machine Vision Team).

Mark worked as a software engineer in industry for 10 years, before coming to the BRL in 2008 for his PhD. And he’s never looked back.

“There’s a lot of freedom and I direct a lot of my own work. I never feel micro-managed or that someone is breathing down by neck at any time. I will get the work done and my line manager knows that. 

I feel very trusted, it’s a nurturing familial type of environment to work in.” 

When Mark’s children were much younger, he made use of the nursery on campus and adaptable working hours to schedule work around his childcare responsibilities. 

“There’s flexibility if I need it for my family. I have two children, 10 and 7, and my wife is a successful solicitor, so she works a lot.” 

Crisis in the family 

Mark highlights a particular occasion when UWE’s flexibility was invaluable for his family: 

“My wife had just left to go to court in London, when my eldest fell on the youngest, embedding his tooth into his forehead.” 

Although initially stitched up okay, Mark’s son soon developed a very serious infection. He was hospitalised on intravenous antibiotics, and there was a real fear he might develop sepsis. 

“As opposed to many other jobs I’ve had in the past, I was just able to tell my line manager I’m not going to be in for…I don’t know for how long. And I knew I didn’t have to worry about work at all.”  

Mark’s son made a full recovery, and the experience has given Mark an acute appreciation for EDM’s staff support, “it would be hard to get that level and trust and balance anywhere else.” 

The friendly, international culture 

Alongside EDM’s culture of supporting family life, Mark points to the great collegial and collaborative working culture within the department, which drives its success. 

“I get to work with people who are all really passionate about what they do and have a very wide range of skills to call on.” 

Mark enjoys the international diversity and friendly atmosphere within the department, fondly remembering an international lunch where 40 different dishes were authentically prepared, “I think it was probably the best meal I’ve ever eaten!” 

EDM culture supports family life

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Senior lecturer and head of EDM’s Equity Diversity and Inclusivity committee, Laura Fogg-Rogers is passionate about communicating engineering to new audiences.

“Engineering can make a difference to our future, but it’s got an image problem in that people don’t think it’s relevant to society. I’m trying to change representations of engineering and show some of the amazing things that can be done, both through educating our engineers and communicating with schools.”

Communication is key for diversifying engineering, but inclusive support from employers, like UWE, is also essential to enable those who’ve joined the profession, to continue.

Laura’s background is in science communication but working for UWE for the past seven years has given her first-hand experience of how the department supports progression of those with families, and, is continuing that support in the current COVID-19 crisis. 

“When I first arrived at UWE, I only had one young child and when I got pregnant with my second child they were brilliant with maternity leave and also return to work. 

My line managers understand the situation and have been really supportive of me, so I’ve always been able to balance and pursue what I want to do, whilst still being able to be around with my kids as well. As I’ve developed projects of my own choice, I’ve slowly worked up my hours, from 3 to 4, and now 5 days a week. 

The culture as a whole in EDM is quite supportive of family demands, with meetings taking place after 10am and generally finishing by 4pm, to fit around school pick-ups and drop-offs. And when I’ve done teaching, they’ve been really supportive of organising teaching time to fit with the hours that I can do.” 

Laura’s particularly impressed by how UWE is protecting full pay for staff who are now juggling home-schooling responsibilities during the school shutdown in response to COVID-19. 

“I think we are really lucky working at UWE. There is a big understanding that with schools closed, work time is massively cut down and UWE has been really supportive of that. 

Lisa Brodie, head of the department, has been emphasizing a focus on what we can produce rather than the hours worked. It’s been great to have that understanding during all this craziness.” 

Laura’s experience as a working mum, has given her a good understanding of how supporting employees is crucial for a flourishing workforce. She used this experience in leading EDM’s recent bid to achieve renewal of a Bronze Athena SWAN award. Now Laura, along with other members of EDM’s Equity Diversity and Inclusivity committee, is taking further steps to embed inclusivity in the department, and it’s not just for staff… 

“The amazing thing is that we are embedding equity, diversity and inclusion into our student programme from September. Getting students thinking about these sort of practices and ideas whilst at UWE, to then take into their future work-life.” 

Engineers hit local schools during British Science Week

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It seems a long time since schools were last open, but at the start of March British Science week went ahead, and UWE staff and students were called up to inspire the next generation of engineers! Read on to find out more.

Chatting about engineering at Hambrook Primary

On Wednesday 11th March, three UWE engineering students were invited into Hambrook Primary to be interviewed by the kids about engineering, what future roles they hoped to have and how all of this linked to their STEM subjects at school.

“They did a great job of talking things through with the children.”

a Hambrook School teacher reported

Getting hands on at the Manor C of E Primary in Coalpit Heath

For the second time that week, students got to be role models in a school, this time bringing a hands on activity for the children to have a go at.

The ‘super sucker’ activity got the kids making vacuum cleaners. This was one of the activities developed for the Engineering in Society module, which engineering and education students took into schools in November.

Teachers report that the children loved the activity and the students were equally enthusiastic about the visit.

“They had different perspectives about engineering field and it’s pathways. It was such a good experience!”

said engineering student Harshi Asurappulige

Aspiration day at Filton Avenue Primary School

Venkat Bakthavatchaalam, lecturer in mechanical engineering, (who only recently joined UWE in January!) attended the career’s fair portion of the day on Friday 13th March. He went armed with thymio robots to grab the attention of the Year 5s tasked with finding out what their Super North Star is, aka – what they want to be when they are older.

“The children were very surprised with the Thymio robots and were curious about sensors and how they worked. Personally, it was a good experience for me to see the children interacting with the robots. Awe was all over their expressions.”

said Venkat

If anyone academics or students are keen on getting involved in school outreach, please get in contact – louisa.cockbill@uwe.ac.uk

Kids with specific learning difficulties visit the BRL

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Katie Sparkes from the Lightyear Foundation thanks Severin Lemaignan and his team for enabling the special educational needs (SEN) trip to the Bristol Robotics Laboratory in January.

The Lightyear Foundation works hard to break down barriers to getting more disabled people into Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, & Medicine. One of the ways they inspire children with SEN is through work inspiration trips.

This is what New Fosseway School had to say about the trip:

“What a unique experience for our students and interesting place to visit! It was a real delight watching them so interested in all the different robots from the very tiny to the huge car simulators.

They were especially interested in the social robots designed to help disabled people. Being able to have a go and manipulate some of the robots was really exciting and they also enjoyed the coding session where they got to programme some of the robots.

The trip most definitely inspired curiosity!”

Jo Payne, Transitions Lead, New Fosseway School.

Thanks to Severin, this trip has opened up the possibility of more SEN schools visiting the BRL….hopefully schools will be back in the summer term and these visits can go ahead!

Alumni listed on 2020 Future List by Northern Power Women

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Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee graduated in 2010 from the MEng Aerospace Engineering programme and now works as a Flight Systems Engineer at BAE Systems. She’s worked hard to change perceptions of STEM careers, and has been officially recognised on the 2020 Future List by Northern Power Women.

Northern Power Women have added 52 amazing individuals to the Future List, all who have contributed to making a difference in their communities and organisations, as well as raising awareness of gender equality across the North of England. 
 
The Future List recognises the leaders and change makers of the future who are already making a difference in their environments and communities. 

“I feel very passionate about inspiring more young girls to consider STEM careers, especially after my own experiences of studying and working in an environment in which the majority of people are male.
Volunteering to talk to young people has taken me out of my comfort zone but seeing the excitement and wonder on their faces when I talk about my career gives me personal fulfilment. I aspire to help change perceptions of what an Engineer looks like and to be the role model I wish I’d had when I was growing up.”

Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee

The winners of the Northern Power Women Awards will be announced on 16 March at a gala awards night and dinner at the Manchester Central Convention Complex. The winners will continue to be showcased throughout the year, to ensure ongoing visibility for the role models and to use their presence to inspire.

Read the full announcement.