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.

“An amazing opportunity for me to share my route into engineering”

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Women Like Me participant and graduate engineer at Peter Brett Associates Rachel Kirkwood tells us about her very successful online presentation for the Leaders Award in this guest post.

On Thursday 17th January I spoke to almost 2,000 primary and secondary school children across the nation about all things engineering via a live online video call. This was part of the Leaders Award scheme which provides children with the opportunity to hear from engineers from a variety of backgrounds and industries, prompting the children to answer the question “If you were an engineer, what would you do?”. This was an amazing opportunity for me to share my route into engineering and details of my current career as a Transport Planner at Peter Brett Associates. Importantly, it also provided an insight into who I am in a quest to challenge perceptions of what an engineer looks like or the sort of person they might be. My presentation initially covered the sorts of things I learnt during my Civil Engineering degree at university which were broad and varied, demonstrating the many applications of engineering. I included a photo, as below, of my dissertation project work as evidence that the subject can be hands-on and put you in interesting (read: cold and wet) situations!

I then spoke about my current role as a Transport Planner, and what on earth Transport Planning actually is. I didn’t know the answer to that myself until only a few years ago so it is brilliant to know that children these days are getting the opportunity to find out about real careers so early on. My presentation covered issues such as reducing levels of traffic congestion, improving people’s mental and physical health, sustainability, and the future of transport.

The presentation lasted 15 minutes and was followed by 45 minutes of Q&A; this was admittedly a daunting prospect at first but was actually good fun. The questions covered areas such as what you need to study at school to become an engineer, my favourite part of my job, my best invention, and my interests outside of work. I had to politely skip over the requests for me to sing to them after I mentioned that was one of my hobbies! It was amazing to know that they had all found my presentation interesting and were keen to learn more. I was also very impressed with the relevance and quality of (most of) the questions being asked.

Details of the Leaders Award project and the opportunity to sign up to present were provided to me by the wonderful team at UWE who are running the Women Like Me initiative that I am also participating in. Women Like Me aims to increase awareness of the purpose and importance of outreach and public engagement within science and engineering with the goal of getting more people, particularly women, into engineering. It does this by guiding and encouraging a group of junior female engineers in the South West to actively participate in STEM outreach and activities. The scheme also provides junior engineers with mentoring from a more senior engineer to aid with their progression in the industry. I signed up to Women Like Me as I am incredibly passionate about widening participation in STEM, changing public perceptions of engineering, and ensuring that children don’t have to wait until they’re in their 20s to discover that engineering is a real career option like I did!

I thoroughly enjoyed my Leaders Award experience and my presentation was apparently so successful that I have been asked to deliver it again next month. I would thoroughly encourage anyone else to sign up and share your engineering story. It is not only rewarding but also a great opportunity to develop your communication and presentation skills. If you would like any more details, you can visit the Leaders Award website at https://leadersaward.com/.

DE&S releases video showcasing Leaders Award support

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Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S – Ministry of Defence), are supporting the Leaders Award, run by Primary Engineer, alongside UWE Bristol and Women Like Me.

After hosting school students from across Bristol at their Abbey Wood site last Friday, DE&S released a great video showcasing their (and our) support for the Leaders Award, which asks children “if you were an engineer, what would you do?” and invites them to submit entries to a competition to have their design built by UWE Bristol engineers.

Primary Engineer CEO and founder Dr Susan Scurlock MBE said:

“The partnership between ourselves, DE&S and UWE has been one that has inspired children across the region with the possibilities that engineering offers.

We are very pleased to be supporting the Leaders Award for another year and further developing this successful partnership.

WISE and Women Like Me’s Sarah Behenna on the My Skills My Life launch

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WISE Associate, WISE Bristol Hub founder and Women Like Me consultant Sarah Behenna has recently been involved in the development of the new WISE digital platform My Skills My Life. Aimed at encouraging 11-19 year old girls into STEM, My Skills My Life launched yesterday. Sarah tells us more about it in this guest post.

Yesterday marked the launch of a new interactive game from WISE called My Skills My Life which helps girls to discover what they’re good at, and then match them up to rewarding careers in STEM. The launch took place at UTC Reading, where 38 girls got to be the first in the country to try the game out, and then meet people in industry who share the same skill sets as them to see how they use their skills in their careers. Afterwards, the girls got to meet WISE’s role patron HRH The Princess Royal, who asked them about what they’d like to do in the future.

Complete our quiz to discover your personality type, and see how your skills match up to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers. Connect with real people in STEM careers who have the same personality as you. What do they do? What do they earn? How did they get there? It’s all about your skills, and how you can make them work for your life.  

You can access the platform at http://www.myskillsmylife.org.uk/.

For more information, please contact WISE at info@wisecampaign.org.uk

WISE launches new digital platform for 11-19 year old girls

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Our Women Like Me partner WISE has launched a new digital platform today, aimed at engaging 11-19 year old girls. My Skills My Life shows girls that science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) opens doors to a huge variety of exciting and purposeful jobs and careers in every sector. Over 1,000 girls from across the UK have given their feedback on the platform:

“I like how it allows a person to describe themselves, how they see themselves and not how others see them. And how it’s not what you have to do but what it recommends. It doesn’t test how smart you are – doesn’t discriminate.”

“It helps narrow down the wide range of ideas and career paths to make the experience of choosing what you’d like to do less daunting and more exciting in a fun and inspiring way.”

WISE developed the platform with generous support from BAE Systems, Broadcom, Goldman Sachs Gives, National Skills Academy for Rail, Network Rail, techUK and the UK Space Agency. .

My Skills My Life is an online game designed to be played on a mobile phone, tablet or computer, connecting girls to hundreds of role models working in all areas of STEM. It was designed based on feedback from girls, teachers, role models and independent evaluation, and with it WISE aims to develop it to replace their existing People Like Me resources, eventually reaching at least 200,000 girls.

As we keep developing My Skills My Life, it will replace People Like Me, and the My Skills My Life game will be supported by comprehensive resources for teachers, role models and everyone who will deliver it.

WISE are asking people to share the resource within their organisation and networks; ask young women working in STEM to sign up as role models via the home page of their website www.wisecampaign.org.uk.

You can read more here. If you have any questions, please email WISE at info@wisecampaign.org.uk

Women Like Me engineer Rachel Kirkwood engages 1778 children for Leaders Awards

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Rachel Kirkwood, graduate engineer at Peter Brett, reached 1778 primary school pupils today in her online presentation for the Leaders Award. The children from 14 schools across England and Scotland.

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.

Rachel, who is taking part in UWE’s Women Like Me project to support women and girls in engineering, spoke about civil engineering and transport planning. After the presentation, she said:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it was a great opportunity to give an insight into the varied world of civil engineering and transport planning. The pupils asked very interesting and sometimes challenging questions. They all seemed to enjoy the session and learn a lot.”

We’re sure Rachel inspired many children today, and are looking forward to more Leaders Award presentations.

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.

Women Like Me presented at the 2019 Association for Science Education conference

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UWE’s Women Like Me project, run by Dr Laura Fogg Rogers and Dr Laura Hobbs, was featured in a presentation about making STEM for everyone at the Association for Science Education Annual Conference https://www.ase.org.uk/annual-conference today.

Women Like Me is a peer mentoring and outreach project aimed at boosting female representation in engineering.  The project pairs senior women engineers with junior women engineers to give them mentoring support as they start out in their engineering careers. In turn, junior women undertake engineering education outreach in schools and at public events in the Bristol and Bath area. Engineering is a creative, socially conscious, and collaborative discipline, and this project aims to support girls and women to make a difference in society.

The ASE conference is Europe’s largest Science Education Continuing Professional Development conference. In 2019 it took place at the University of Birmingham. “Women Like Me – Role modelling and outreach for women and girls in engineering” was authored by Laura Fogg Rogers and Laura Hobbs and presented by Laura Hobbs within their “Making STEM for everyone: reaching under-served audiences” session, as part of strand for of the conference for all education stages. The full conference programme can be viewed here.



Women Like presented at Association for Science Education conference

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UWE’s Women Like Me project, run by Dr Laura Fogg Rogers and Dr Laura Hobbs, was featured in a presentation about making Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths accessible to under-represented groups at the Association for Science Education Annual Conference today.

Women Like Me is a peer mentoring and outreach project aimed at boosting female representation in engineering.  The project pairs senior women engineers with junior women engineers to give them mentoring support as they start out in their engineering careers. In turn, junior women undertake engineering education outreach in schools and at public events in the Bristol and Bath area. Engineering is a creative, socially conscious, and collaborative discipline, and this project aims to support girls and women to make a difference in society.

ASE’s Annual Conference is Europe’s largest science education Continuing Professional Development conference. The 2019 conference is being held 9th-12th January at the University of Birmingham. This National conference brings together the best speakers and practitioners all in one place with 504 sessions, 473 speakers and 2,000 delegates.

“Women Like Me: mentoring and outreach for women and girls in engineering” was authored by Laura Hobbs and Laura Fogg Rogers and presented by Laura Hobbs, as part of the Making STEM for everyone: reaching under-served audiences session of the conference.



Women Like Me featured in Science in Public conference presentation

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UWE’s Women Like Me project, run by Dr Laura Fogg Rogers and Dr Laura Hobbs, was featured in a presentation about increasing visibility of minority groups at STEM events at the Science in Public conference today.

Women Like Me is a peer mentoring and outreach project aimed at boosting female representation in engineering.  The project pairs senior women engineers with junior women engineers to give them mentoring support as they start out in their engineering careers. In turn, junior women undertake engineering education outreach in schools and at public events in the Bristol and Bath area. Engineering is a creative, socially conscious, and collaborative discipline, and this project aims to support girls and women to make a difference in society.

Science in Public 2018 was a conference “centred on the multiple ways that scholars have sought to intervene in, understand, talk about, and co-produce with, the natural sciences – whether from the perspective of Science and Technology Studies (STS), Public Understanding of Science, Science Communication, Medical Sociology, the History of Science, Social and Cultural Theory, Science Journalism or some other intellectual inheritance”. It took place at the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University.

“MI STEM – Improving the visibility of Minorities in STEM at science events” was authored by Laura Fogg Rogers and Laura Hobbs and presented by Laura Fogg Rogers, as part of the Communication, Education and Engagement strand of the conference.

Engineers from UWE’s Women in Science and Engineering Society excited to be building Leaders Award winning design

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A team of UWE Bristol engineering students:

have now picked one of the winning designs from this year’s Leaders Award to turn into reality. The team are part of UWE’s Women in Science and Engineering student society and Katy is also a participant in our Women Like Me mentoring and outreach project supporting women and girls in engineering.

The team picked the design of 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 in February to discuss the design with her and deliver engineering outreach for her class.
Georgina and Olesya made this video to tell us how they’re looking forward to getting started: