Leaders Award online Engineering Extravaganza for British Science Week 2019

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The Leaders Awards are celebrating British Science Week 2019 by holding an Engineering Extravaganza in which they will hold two ‘Meet an Engineer’ interviews engineers every school day, starting from 8th March.

During British Science Week 2019 there will be two Live Online Engineer Events each day, available to all schools registered for the Scottish Engineering, Primary Engineer and Secondary Engineer Leaders Awards featuring:

  • Jenny Roberts a Mechatronic Engineer – Friday 8/3/19, 10.30 am-11.30 am
  • Gerry Ward – Manufacturing Engineer – Friday 8/3/19, 1.30 pm-2.30 pm
  • Iulia Motoc – Roboticist – Monday 11/3/19, 0.30 am-11.30 am
  • Mike Baldwin – Lead Mechanical Engineer – Monday 11/3/19, 1.30 pm-2.30 pm
  • Elaine Meskhi – Engineering Consultant – Tuesday 12/3/19, 10.30 am-11.30 am
  • Eleanor Davies – Structural Engineer and Women Like Me participant – Tuesday 12/3/19, 1.30 pm-2.30 pm
  • Yeff Karpuchenko – Mechanical Engineer – Wednesda 13/3/19, 10.30 am-11.30 am
  • Mike Jeschke – Materials Engineer – Wednesday 13/3/19, 1.30 pm-2.30 pm
  • Stephanie Alexander – Automotive Engineer – Thursday 14/3/19, 10.30 am-11.30 am
  • Lorna Bennet – Renewables Mechanical Engineer – Thursday 14/3/19, 1.30 pm-2.30 pm
  • Graeme Ralph – Manufacturing R&D Engineer – Friday 15/3/19, 10.30 am-11.30 am
  • Victoria Howells – Flight Simulation Engineer – Friday 15/3/19, 1.30 pm-2.30 pm

These events are expecting to very popular, so the Leaders Awards are recommending that schools who want to take part register their interest by emailing info@leadersaward.com as soon as possible citing the relevant engineer’s name and your school name in the subject line of the email.

Women Like Me engineer Rachel Kirkwood engages another 1161 pupils for Leaders Award

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Following a very successful online presentation for the Leaders Award in January by Rachel Kirkwood, graduate engineer at Peter Brett Associates and participant in our Women Like Me programme, she was invited back to deliver another! Rachel’s second presentation took place on Thursday 28th February 2019, reaching 1161 pupils in 10 schools across the UK.

Before the presentation, Rachel gave a taster of what she’d be talking about, and it sounds like she made a great impression on the students in her talk:

“We just wanted to say thank you very much for organising this event. Our pupils found Rachel’s talk very interesting and they were inspired by her passion for her job and for her enthusiastic responses to all of the questions. Thank you from all of us at Craigrothie Primary School.”

The Leaders Award is supported by UWE Bristol and asks children “If you were an engineer, what would you do?”. This free competition asks students to find a problem, invent a solution, draw it, explain and send it in. Pupils are encouraged to both interview engineers and watch the online interviews. If you’d like to take part in the Leaders Award as an engineer or school, please get in touch with the team.

Women Like Me engineer Rachel Kirkwood to return to Leaders Award

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Back in January, Rachel Kirkwood, graduate engineer at Peter Brett Associates and participant in our Women Like Me programme, delivered a very successful online presentation for the Leaders Award.

So much so, that she’s been asked to return and will give another presentation tomorrow, on Thursday 28th February 2019.

In the video below, Rachel gives a taster of what she’ll be discussing, by explaining what she does in her role in transport planning.

Engineers who would like to support Primary Engineer / The Leaders Award can find out more here. Schools which would like to participate in Meet an Engineer interviews can find more information here.

Final Call to Enter Free Engineering Competition

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The Leaders Award is a free competition for children in which you can challenge your pupils to come up with engineering solutions to everyday problems. But the deadline (27th March) is fast approaching…

Kids taking part in the Leaders Award are encouraged to talk to local engineers, but also have the opportunity to tune into live interviews with scientists and pose their questions to these experts.

Get your school registered to take part in the Leaders Award.

If your school wants to be involved in any of the interviews please register your interest via email to info@leadersaward.com and they will  keep you posted on their schedule. And you can read more about it here: leadersaward 2019 flyer.

The awards are supported by the University of the West of England, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S).

Originally posted by Louisa Cockbill on the Curiosity Connections blog, 24th February 2019.

UWE student engineers visit Leaders Award winner’s school

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A team of engineers from UWE Bristol is bringing to life one of the winning designs from last year’s Leaders Awards. Designed by Philippa Griffiths of Hugh Sexey CE Middle School in Somerset, the Red Line Braking System (RLBS) displays red lights to alert other drivers of the severity of the braking and levels of attention needed, with the aim of reducing fatalities on our roads. Miriam Cristofoletti tells us more about their visit to the school of designer Phillipa Griffiths in this blog post.

Earlier this month we had the incredible opportunity to go and visit Philippa in her school, run a series of STEM activities with her classmates and to discuss her idea about the RLBS project! We were so excited! 

After about an hour of traveling, we reached Hugh Sexey CE Middle School, in the quiet Somerset countryside, and we met Ms Latti (Philippa’s teacher), who took us to the DT classroom and introduced us to the pupils. It was a great surprise to see the majority of them to be girls! 

We started with a brief introduction about who we are, what we do at UWE and we had a chat with them about their career plans after school. The students were very interested and it was nice to see them interacting with us and sharing their opinions, without feeling shy. We then had a couple of quizzes. First, we wanted the children to explore the different areas of Engineering, so we gave them a few job descriptions and they had to guess the job title. We picked the latest job adverts from real websites, in the Engineering sections, like Drone Pilot, App Developer, Machine Learning Engineer, Virtual Reality Designer,… to show them that all these jobs weren’t there a few years ago, but they are now possible because of the new technological advancement. When we said: “Think about the fact that you all will have jobs that are not there yet, because you haven’t invented them yet!”, a girl from the back went like “Oh my God, THAT-IS-SO-COOL!” 

And it’s for real, “SO COOL”! 

Another activity was to see whether they knew some of the most important past and present figures in the Engineering industry and research environment, like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, but also Mary Jackson and Katherine Johnson, telling them that they all started from nothing, from a garage or from a little desk, and they all built their way up with determination and strength, never giving up. 

We showed them some of our work and projects at university, and we also brought a Mekamon (the spider-like robot produced by Reach Robotics). They were all so excited to see a real robot in front of them, but also interested by the fact that Silas Adekunle, was just an undergraduate student when he came up with the idea of building it and set up his own company. 

Then, it was time to discuss the Leaders Award competition and Philippa’s design. We presented her our work from the very first tests and the current progress. She shared with us the reasons behind her idea and she told us her thoughts about what we’ve done so far. It was a great experience for both sides – she managed to see her drawing slowly coming true and give her input about the next steps, and we got the opportunity to have our customer review, avoiding future errors and/or disappointment! 

The last hour was spent with our final activity, a practical one! We split the class in 4 groups and each group was further divided in 2 teams: a Hardware team and a Software team. We brought laptops, microcontroller boards, wires, sensors and LEDs, to allow the pupils to build their own circuit and program their own code, and make an easier version of Philippa’s RLBS: an LED would lit up based on how much a sensor was pressed. 

To create a more real life scenario, we supplied the 4 groups with slightly different materials and they had to share some components, because that’s what an Engineer project sometimes looks like, especially when you start with the first tests. You don’t always have everything as expected, you need to adapt and improvise with what you have or what you’re given, sometimes you have constraints in terms of money, resources, time… but you keep on trying, persistent and confident that eventually you can make it! 

The children worked hard and followed our instruction perfectly! They soon found out that nothing works fine on the first attempt, it’s not like in movies, when you just type on a keyboard and magically you get all the results you want! It takes time and team work. It was amazing seeing the members of the HW team agreeing with the ones in the SW team for the number of pins, and cooperating to get the whole system working! This is exactly what we do in our projects at university – no Engineer works alone! 

At the end, some children managed to lit up an LED, and the sense of achievement in their eyes was priceless! 

With the bell’s ring, we packed our things, and came back to UWE, happy to have lit up the first sparkle of inspiration for our future Engineers! 

Leaders Award prototype team ready to visit designer’s school

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Our team of engineers, including our Women Like Me engineer Katy, are busy building one of the winning designs from last year’s Leaders Award. Designed by Philippa Griffiths of Hugh Sexey CE Middle School in Somerset, the Red Line Braking System (RLBS) displays red lights to alert other drivers of the severity of the braking and levels of attention needed, with the aim of reducing fatalities on our roads. The team are due to visit Philippa’s school tomorrow, as Miriam Cristofoletti of the build team tells us here.

Today we had a very productive meeting, preparing our 2-hour session to Philippa’s school. We’ll have about 20-25 KS3 pupils and we will run a series of very interactive activities. We want to inspire them, and show them what the Engineering World looks like, through quizzes, games and a final practical session, building circuits and writing code! 

Philippa’s design is an incredible idea, and the Engineering principle behind it is actually quite straightforward: a pressure sensor and many LED strips lit up depending on the intensity of the force applied on it. We want her to fully experience her own design and with our practical session next Wednesday, she’ll be able to do so. We’ll also have a chat with her, and see whether we’re all on the same page for the project and what are her suggestions. It’s gonna be fun!

First prototype complete in Leaders Award design build

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A team of engineers from UWE Bristol is bringing to life one of the winning designs from last year’s Leaders Awards. Designed by Philippa Griffiths of Hugh Sexey CE Middle School in Somerset, the Red Line Braking System (RLBS) displays red lights to alert other drivers of the severity of the braking and levels of attention needed, with the aim of reducing fatalities on our roads. Here Miriam Cristofoletti of the build team shares their latest prototype progress.

In this first prototype, we installed a pressure sensor inside what looks like a break pedal of a car (but instead is an old sewing machine’s pedal!), and we build and programmed a circuit to control a strip of LEDs. This is the basic principle behind the final design. We will then make it bigger and we’ll attach it to a frame to fit around the car’s back windshield. We’d also like to add a Bluetooth system in order not to have wires running from one side of the car to another. 

Women Like Me engineer Eleanor Davies reaches another 1000 pupils for the Leaders Award

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Back in November, our Women Like Me participant Eleanor Davies presented to over 1300 children in on online ‘Meet an Engineer‘ session for the Leaders Award.

Her talk was so successful and engaging that she was invited back, and presented again on 31st January. This time Eleanor reached 1042 children in six primary and one secondary school, across the UK. Eleanor is a Chartered Structural Engineer at BuroHappold Engineering; you out more about her and her career in engineering so far here.

The Leaders Award is supported by UWE Bristol and asks children “If you were an engineer, what would you do?”. This free competition asks students to find a problem, invent a solution, draw it, explain and send it in. Pupils are encouraged to both interview engineers and watch the online interviews. If you’d like to take part in the Leaders Award as an engineer or school, please get in touch with the team.

UWE student engineers promote Leaders Award at Curiosity Connections 2019

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Our Curiosity Connections Conference, bringing together teachers and science communicators to discuss and progress the future of primary STEM, took place today and the packed expo featured two of the student engineers building a prototype of one of the winning designs from last year’s Leaders Award competition.

UWE Bristol student engineers Miriam Cristofoletti (Bristol Robotics Laboratory) and Georgina Packham (Mechanical Engineering) attended the conference to report on the work they are doing for the Leaders Award, and raise awareness of the competition with more than 50 conference attendees.

Along with Olesya Klyuchenkova and our Women Like Me engineer
Katy O’Hara Nash, Miriam and Georgina are building a prototype of a graded braking light designed by Philippa Griffiths, a Year 7 student at Hugh Sexey CE Middle School in Somerset. Philippa designed the RLBS (Red Line Braking System) to display red lights to alert other drivers of the severity of the braking and levels of attention needed, with the aim of reducing fatalities on our roads. The team will be visiting Philippa’s school later this month.

The Leaders Award is supported by UWE Bristol and asks children “If you were an engineer, what would you do?”. This free competition asks students to find a problem, invent a solution, draw it, explain and send it in. Pupils are encouraged to both interview engineers and watch the online interviews. If you’d like to take part in the Leaders Award as an engineer or school, please get in touch with the team.

UWE engineering students visit Hannah More Primary School

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Yesterday, our team of student engineers who are turning one of the winning 2018 Leaders Award designs into reality, Miriam Cristofoletti, Katy O’Hara Nash, Olesya Klyuchenkova and Georgina Packham, visited Hannah More Primary School in Bristol to introduce Year 1 pupils to engineering. Find out how they got on in this guest post by the team.

Yesterday we went to Hannah More Primary School to deliver our Engineering activity and we had so much fun with the children! 

They were Year 1 pupils (age 5 and 6), and we were really happy to see their interest and passion in getting involved in all the activities. We had a slideshow with many pictures, videos about Engineering and questions to make the session more interactive and entertaining.

“I want that robot at home!”

Most of the children said things like “I want that robot at home!” “I want to fly that plane!”. We got them thinking about what they want to do when they grow up, guess what course we study, draw what an engineer would look like and what they do in their job.

We introduced them to the Leaders Award competition and they were so impressed by the fact that we are actually building one of last year’s winners, designed by a pupil like them!

Then, we gave the children two problems to choose from (pollution and unhealthy eating) and in groups they had to find a solution. It was great to see the amazing ideas they came up with, such as robots that only buy/serve healthy food and devices to clean the “dirty gases” coming out of the cars.

Credit: Hannah More Primary School on Twitter.

At the end they proudly presented their work in front of the rest of the class and all said they now want to become engineers! Such a successful day! 

The Leaders Award is supported by UWE Bristol and asks children “If you were an engineer, what would you do?”. This free competition asks students to find a problem, invent a solution, draw it, explain and send it in. Pupils are encouraged to both interview engineers and watch the online interviews. If you’d like to take part in the Leaders Award as an engineer or school, please get in touch with the team.