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!

Inspired into Engineering!

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UWE engineering students, alumni and staff have recorded home-videos to inspire children into engineering. We’ll be sharing some of these videos in the next couple of weeks, and first up are two Aerospace Engineering students – Hannah and Timothy – who share their enthusiasm for the profession as well as what first sparked their interest in engineering.

Hannah Gray

Hannah just graduated (2020) with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from UWE Bristol and explains for a young audience what engineering is and how she got into it. She gives insight into how creativity lends itself to designing solutions to problems – the essence of engineering! Listen to find out why Hannah thinks anyone can be an engineer and how she thinks engineers can help tackle the climate crisis.

Timothy Hampl

Inspired by space flight as a child, Tim shares how he considered becoming a pilot but decided that being an engineer gave him scope to do something even cooler – contribute to the evolution of flight technology! He explains how he’s using computers to design and test out aircraft components and advises kids to pursue what they love. 

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!

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:

Making mud-powered robots for schools

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In October, FET awarded the team at the Bioenergy Centre a public engagement and outreach award. The Centre are using this fund to support the production of an interactive workshop for schools – Mud powered robots!

Research Associate Pavlina Theodosiou, who led the project until her move to Newcastle University in January, provides an update here on this exciting workshop.

Before Christmas, Pavlina worked hard alongside electronics engineer technician, Ugnius Barajunas, to obtain quotes from various companies for the prototype motors – the most expensive part of the robot.

At the same time, the two assembled different electronic boards with the 3D printed parts and borrowed motors, to create three robots. The robots were tested with live Microbial FuelCells in the lab and ran well on urine (but don’t worry, they won’t be run on urine in school!)

They presented their results at the a best-in-class overview of robotics and automation, which BotTalks hosted at the watershed in November. The team are now excited about trialling the robots on mud for the first time!

“Overall the project received a lot of interest from public and investors at BotTalks.”

Pavlina
Pavlina and Ugnius speak about the importance of bringing these scientific discoveries to schools to help children get interested in STEM

Later in the year, the workshop will be taken into Sea Mills Primary School for the Year 6s to get stuck into.

Help children grasp what engineering is all about

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With schools closed, scientists have moved online to engage with children on all the wonderfully intricate and mind-boggling secrets of our universe.

Luckily a great locally run platform for sharing science with kids already exists – I’m a Scientist.

And you can join other UWE engineers in the I’m an Engineer zone!

I’m a Scientist organises set weeks of interactions throughout the year, each on specific themes of inquiry. Schools sign up and students ask a whole myriad of questions, which the recruited scientists try and answer.

Usually there’s a competitive element, with students judging scientist’s answers in I’m a Scientist Get me out of Here. But in the current climate the team based in Bath have launched I’m a Scientist Stay at Home to run more question-asking sessions for students.

Teachers sign up for 40 minute sessions, and I’m a Scientist are on the lookout to expand session capacity, so need more scientists of all disciplines to sign up.

You can sign up for only a few hours, or much more – whatever time you volunteer will be appreciated by teachers, parents and students.

Read more and sign up here – being sure to join the I’m an Engineer zone!

A number of UWE staff are already taking part, including Alan Winfield, Professor of Robot Ethics. He’s re-joined after doing a stint on I’m a Scientist nine years ago, so if you’d like to know more, read about Alan’s past experience on his blog.

“Brilliant – it was a kind of science soap box! I got to pontificate on life on Mars, the end of the world and human extinction, global warming, nuclear power, dreams, light years, my favourite animal, my favourite car, string theory, the Higgs Boson and dark matter.

“By far the biggest category of questions was about doing science: why and how you do science, what’s the best thing about being a scientist, what you think you have achieved, or will achieve and so on (and quite a few on what you will do with the prize money if you win). These are great questions because they allow you to explode some myths about science: for instance that you have to be super smart to do science, or that one scientist can change the world on their own.”

Alan Winfield

Co-producing an arboretum-meadow with local eco-warriors

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Helen Hoyle, senior lecturer in Healthy Built Environments, was awarded FET public engagement funds, for her project to “Future-proof Luton” – co-producing an air-quality arboretum meadow on a former mini-golf site. Helen, along with MSc Urban Planning student, William Cotrill, have been working hard to move the project forward – getting trees planted and local school children involved.

Getting planting

In November, Helen secured extra funding from the Landscape Institute to kick the project off – planting nine mature trees on the selected site.

Production of the arboretum-meadow is a joint project that includes input from the Luton Parks Service, River Bank Primary School, the Landscape Institute and Pictorial Meadows (a seed supplier and consultancy).

Local eco-warriors

Then on 10th February, Helen and William worked with 10 young eco-warriors at Riverbank Primary School in Luton. They started with workshops exploring the benefits of trees for climate change and air pollution mitigation, then moved outdoors into the new arboretum to get down to tree planting.

Read more about the activities with the local eco-warriors on the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments blog.

The next stage of the project is to sow a flowering meadow in April. School closures will prevent pupils being involved but Helen still hopes to deliver this in partnership with Luton Parks Service.

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

UWE grad publishes inspiring engineering book for kids

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Katherine Terris graduated in Mechanical Engineering from UWE in 2017 and joined the graduate scheme at Babcock. To encourage children into STEM, she wrote a short book called “Porty’s Whizzing Recovery”. The story focuses on marine themed characters, and earlier this year Babcock International officially launched the book!

“It’s good to spark interests at a young age! I think my problem was that I never knew what engineers did, and I hope this book will spark some interest.”

Katherine Terris, UWE Bristol graduate and Warships Senior Support Engineer at Babcock

Babcock launched the book to coincide with National Storytelling Week in February, and employees went into schools and libraries near the Devonport Royal Dockyard site to share the story with children. The company have also given free copies of the book, aimed at children aged between 5 and 10, to local libraries in the area.

The book was illustrated by local art student April Howard, and aims to take young readers on a journey of discovery about some of the work that takes place at the Devonport site.

Well done Katherine and thanks for the copies you’ve sent to the department!