Women Like Me launch event – becoming a leader in engineering

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Women Like Me has officially launched!

On 18th October we brought together our female engineers from around the Bristol and Bath region, who will be either mentoring other engineers, or undertaking outreach and public engagement activities with schools and communities to raise uptake and retention of women in engineering, and inspire the next generation.

It was a busy and rewarding day, and this is what we got up to.

Welcome Training – Becoming a Leader in Engineering

We started the day by welcoming our junior engineers, who joined us from a range of companies in the Bristol and Bath region. After introductions to each other and the scheme by Dr Laura Fogg Rogers, our first training session, delivered by Dr Laura Hobbs focused on STEM outreach, public engagement and working with schools. What is it, why do we do it and how do we go about it?


We then facilitated STEM Ambassador registration for our volunteers, and get together for an exchange of outreach ideas. Our senior engineers, who will be mentoring our junior engineers, joined us at lunch time ready for a packed afternoon. After meeting each other, mentors and mentees received an introduction to role modelling from Laura Fogg Rogers, followed by a session on mentoring for women by UWE’s Dr Harriet Short.



Participants brought with them something that represents what mentoring means to them, with lots of discussion to be had.









The engineer training closed with bespoke training on Leadership in Engineering from Wide Eyed Group‘s Caroline Morris, looking at the role of leaders, and how our leadership style can be used to encourage and influence others. We explored what it takes to be vulnerable and true to yourself, and how your unique qualities help your own leadership style.

Professionals from across the region then met to discuss science education, outreach, women in STEM and more, with the opportunity to receive free People Like Me taster training from WISE‘s Sarah Behenna.

If you have any questions about Curiosity Connections – Women Like Me or would like to support the project, please get in touch at engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk.

Women Like Me and Leaders Award represented at First Friday Club

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On Friday 5th October 2018, UWE Bristol project Women Like Me and the Leaders Award supported by UWE Bristol were presented to leading media editors at the First Friday Club meeting in London.

Presenting to the editors’ briefing, Chris Rochester, UK Director, Primary Engineer said: “In 2017/18 academic year we continued to develop our programmes across the UK which included working with 988 schools, 3,833 teachers and 1,325 engineers. Each one getting involved and helping nearly 57,000 children to understand that engineering is a broad profession with myriad opportunities. It emphasises engineering is a diverse sector which thrives on ingenuity and creativity of the professionals working within it”.

In the South West, the Leaders Award is supported by Defence, Equipment and Support (DE&S), the MOD’s procurement organisation, along with UWE Bristol.

Air Marshal Julian Young, Chief of Materiel Air, and who is the Ministry of Defence’s Engineering Champion and lead Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador for DE&S, said: “I am delighted that the Defence Sector is rising to the challenge of increasing its diversity in our Engineering profession, whether that is cultural, gender or nationality, and we are working closely with a range of STEM-related organizations, including Primary Engineer, to help to encourage young women and girls to not only express an interest in Engineering, but to follow that through into a career and a successful one at that!”

Two female engineers from Defence, Equipment and Support also gave accounts of their personal journeys into engineering. May Holmes started her career as a primary teacher – unaware there was more than one kind of engineering aside from civil engineering – before joining DE&S as a mechanical engineer.  She said: “Not all young people are lucky enough to be introduced to and experience STEM, which can be to the detriment of younger generations reaching their full potential as well as to STEM professions – particularly with current and predicted future skills shortages in STEM roles. 

“Through programmes such as Primary Engineer, I enjoy challenging young people’s perception of what Engineering is, who an Engineer is, and encouraging all young people that it can, in fact, be for everyone.”   

UWE Bristol are supporting the South West Leaders Awards and hosting the winners’ Awards Ceremony. A team of female student engineers from the UWE Women in Science and Engineering Society will build the winning design from 2018. Alongside this, UWE Bristol is galvanising support from local industries through their Women Like Me mentoring programme, where local female engineers will work with schools over the coming year.

Dr Laura Fogg-Rogers, who is the project lead and a science communication researcher at UWE Bristol, said: “Engineers are highly creative people who can help to solve many of society’s problems. It’s a really collaborative profession, where you have to work together in teams to see your visions and designs come to fruition. The range of roles and careers is really diverse, and that’s what we’d like to emphasise to all young people, particularly girls. You can make your own mark in engineering!”

Edited from a press release by Neil Fullbrook, Cadence neil@thecadenceteam.com

Registration open for the ASE West of England conference

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Annual Association for Science Education West of England conference

Bath Spa University

Saturday 17th November, 09:00 – 13:30.

This conference includes a workshop, ‘Working with science communicators & STEM Ambassadors’ from Laura Fogg Rogers (UWE Bristol) and our collaborator on Women Like Me, Liz Lister (Graphic Science).

Please see below for the programme outline, and the conference website for further information and to register.


9:00-9:30      Registration, refreshments & browse stands

9:30-9:45      Welcome & PSQM Awards

9:45-10:30    Keynote Professor Harry Mellor, Professor of Biochemistry 

10:35-11:30   Workshop A Choice

11:30-12:10   Break & browse exhibition stands

12:10-13:05   Workshop B Choice

13:10-13:30   ASE Regional ABM

Keynote Professor Harry Mellor, Professor of Biochemistry  Teaching height:  the biology and sociology of cell growth

The biology of human growth offers a rich context to teach key aspects of cell biology.  The visible outcome – height – has an immediacy to students across primary to secondary school ages.  This engages students, but also requires care in maintaining an inclusive teaching environment.  Societal attitudes to height, and especially to height and gender, present an opportunity to explore wider themes, and to explore the interface between biology and sociology.

Workshop A choices

A1 Primary:

Kids against plastic

Liz Southwell, St Barnabas Primary @MrsSLearns

Come and find out about the work of Amy and Ella Meek, who founded ‘Kids Against Plastic’ and who are passionate about inspiring young people to lead their schools and communities to becoming ‘Plastic Clever’. This session is based on the Kids Against Plastic ethos and principles, and uses their newly published learning resources, to consider how schools can become more ‘plastic clever’ and how this exciting new charity can become the focus and inspiration for science enquiry and investigation.

A2 Primary:

STEM in action: Scribble-bots

Pauline Rodger, Holt Primary

This workshop offers the opportunity to build and test a scribble-bot (simple robot). Ideas of how to embed this into a sequence of work and engage children with making predictions, testing ideas, problem-solving and controlling outcomes will be shared. Aimed mainly at KS2 but can be further developed and equally engaging for KS3.

A3: Cross phase:

Thinking Science

Ellie Hart, Bristol University

A practical session introducing techniques for philosophical discussion in primary and secondary classrooms. Boost your students’ critical thinking, questioning and argumentation skills and find out about a resource recently developed by philosophers and science teachers that can be used to support discussion and consolidate core curriculum understanding.

A4: Secondary:

Time to reflect on the reformed Science GCSEs

Sarah Old, Ofqual

Now that the reformed Science GCSEs have had their first award and teachers are preparing their second cohort of students for the examinations, come and hear from Sarah Old, Senior Manager in the Standards Team at Ofqual. It will also be an opportunity for you to share your experiences of the new curriculum and the first set of assessments.

A5: Secondary:

Leading a successful secondary science department

Greg Seal, Abbeywood School @gregtheseal

and Helen Rogerson, Westonbirt School @hrogerson


Workshop B choices 

B1 Primary

TAPS: from Focused Assessment to whole school approach

Dr Sarah Earle, Bath Spa University @PriSciEarle

The Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) project, now in its 6th year, has found that classroom Focused Assessment activities help start whole school development.  This workshop will explore a range of practical activities to support the assessment of Working Scientifically, before considering how subject leaders can cascade this approach across the school.

B2 Primary

Ditch the dirt

Bren Hellier, Practical Action @PA_Schools

Join Practical Action for a hands on workshop investigating ways of cleaning dirty water through filtering linked to the charities project work in Kenya.

B3 Cross phase

Working with science communicators & STEM Ambassadors

Laura Fogg-Rogers, University of the West of England @LauraFoggRogers

and Liz Lister, Graphic Science STEM Ambassador Hub @scarycurlgirl

Curiosity Connections Bristol is a new network to connect science teachers and science communicators working in the Bristol region. So how should science teachers best work with industry and external science enthusiasts both in and out of the classroom? This session outlines the resources available to support teachers in this area.

B4: Secondary:

Biology from the farm

Debbie Hicks, LEAF Education

Food security, conservation, biodiversity, plant and animal diseases, farming techniques.  These topics now have a high profile both in the media and in the new GCSE Biology specifications.  Join this workshop to bring your knowledge up to date and explore ways of bringing these topics to life with your classes.

B5: Secondary:

Language and literacy demands of secondary science

Amanda Fleck, Assistant Headteacher @AJTF71

Science is rich in complex language and this can be a barrier for many students at secondary school. Readability statistics show that new 9-1 science GCSEs have some of the highest readability scores of any of the current GCSEs. This session explores the implications of the language and literacy demands of science and discusses practical strategies to support teachers to help their students overcome these barriers.

Making STEM for everyone – a new practitioner resource

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Would you like to help girls engage with Physics? Or  make sure your science engagement is inclusive? May you’d just like to know how strong your unconscious bias is?

The Science Communication Unit at UWE Bristol has published a new practitioner guide which can point you to the resources to help with this, and more.

Making STEM for everyone: Resources for supporting people from under-represented groups to engage with Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering is a compilation of useful online tests, guides and materials written by Dr Laura Hobbs and Dr Laura Fogg Rogers, who also run Engineering Our Future project Women Like Me.

Drawing on a range of project outputs, industry schemes, toolkits and reports from across the STEM landscape, the guide provides a compilation of information and resources to assist anyone wishing to reach people who may face barriers to engaging with STEM subjects.

The contents of the guide are:

General information on under-represented groups in STEM and what influences participation in STEM

Science capital
Understanding the term ‘science capital’ and its application

Diversity in science, positive role models and case studies
Examples of people from under-represented groups in STEM, and resources to support the concept of ‘STEM for all’

What could a STEM career look like?
Examples of roles using STEM

Engineering in a different light
Engineering might not be what you think it is…

Inclusion in the classroom
Inclusive STEM teaching support

Breaking the mould
Challenges to stereotypes in popular culture

Encouraging people into STEM
Resources to support interests in STEM

If you’re interested in more expert guidance, check the Science Communication Unit website for a full list of available practitioner guides.

Join us for the Women Like Me launch!

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Supporting women and girls in engineering

Women Like Me is a peer mentoring and outreach project for women in engineering, based at the University of the West of England (UWE), supported by the WISE Bristol Hub and STEM Ambassador Hub West England and funded by a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious grant.

Women Like Me launches at UWE on 18th October. Join the project’s engineers for an evening of FREE People Like Me taster training from WISE’s Sarah Behenna, followed by networking with professionals from across the region.

Booking is essential – sign up here.

For more information or to get involved with Women Like Me, please email engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk.

Ready to engineer your future?

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Following International Women in Engineering Day on 23rd June, 135 female students in Years 9-11 from across the South West had the chance to participate in hands-on activities, demonstrating the ways in which engineering careers impact many aspects of society.

Each zone focused on a different contribution to society, with the ultimate challenge of designing and building a city of the future. The girls got involved in bridge building, urban design, smart technologies, and sustainable solutions. All these courses are taught in the Faculty of Environment and Technology at UWE Bristol.

The event aimed to challenge traditional perceptions that engineering is mainly for men, in order to tackle a lack of diversity in the profession. Laura Fogg Rogers, who helped to organise it, has also recently initiated the Women Like Me project at UWE Bristol, which aims to further encourage and support girls and women to enter and remain in engineering professions.

UWE Bristol supports Engineer Leaders Award for South West England

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2018 is the Year of Engineering, a Government-led national campaign to increase awareness among young people, their parents and their teachers of what engineers do. This year, UWE Bristol and DE&S  (the MOD’s Defence, Equipment and Support organisation) are the partner organisations of the Primary Engineer & Secondary Engineer Leaders Awards in the South West of England.

School pupils have met and learnt from engineering students and professionals, before answering the question “If you were an engineer, what would you do?” by identifying a problem in society that engineering could solve and devising a solution.

To launch the competition, back in January DE&S invited school children from the Bristol area to visit their Abbey Wood site and discover some of the kit worked on by its engineers.

Engineering Leaders Award

We welcomed 380 school children on campus this week to find out why engineering is fun and to showcase their own designs for future production as part of the Engineering Leaders Award #ThisisEngineeringMore: http://ow.ly/kxxV30iR24L

Posted by UWE Bristol on Friday, 9 March 2018


Primary school children from Years 4-6 also attended the ‘Children as Engineers’ conference at UWE on 7th March, giving them the opportunity to visit the University’s facilities and take part in science activities. Children had the opportunity to pitch their design ideas to engineering students and receive feedback.

Shortlisted and winning entries from the Primary Engineer & Secondary Engineer Leaders Award submitted by primary and secondary school children were then displayed at an exhibition at the University on 30th June.

Winning designs will now be built by UWE Bristol engineering students from September 2018. They take the concept, develop the design and build it into a full-scale functioning prototype, giving the school children who entered the competition an insight into the process behind designing and manufacturing a product.

As part of its commitment to encouraging school children to think about future attendance at a university as well as raising awareness about science and engineering career paths, UWE Bristol is actively involved with schools in the local area.

Last September it set up a module on its undergraduate and postgraduate Engineering degrees to teach students about public engagement with engineering, and the need to widen the appeal of the profession to girls and boys.

As part of the module, 45 of the University’s engineering undergraduates joined forces with 35 UWE Bristol education students to take engineering challenges into 30 primary school classrooms for a day. The event involved over 900 local primary school children, enabling students and children to work together to challenge children’s preconceptions about engineers and the role they play. It also helped support engineering students in their public engagement skills and enabled trainee teachers to develop their knowledge of science teaching.

Laura Fogg-Rogers, who coordinated the event and is Senior Research Fellow in UWE Bristol’s Science Communication Unit said, “Engineers are highly creative people who can help to solve many of society’s problems. It’s a really collaborative profession, where you have to work together in teams to see your visions and designs come to fruition. The range of roles and careers is really diverse, and that’s what we’d like to emphasise to all young people, particularly girls. You can make your own mark in engineering!”

UWE Bristol has also recently launched Women Like Me, a project which will see senior women engineers mentor junior women engineers, who will in turn undertake engineering outreach in schools. For more information about the project and UWE’s engineering outreach work, please email engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk or follow us on Twitter.

TeachMeet South West: Improving STEM for girls

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28th June 2018   4:30 – 6:00 pm


Aimed at science teachers and educators, this free event is open to all

UWE Bristol Exhibition and Conference Centre, Filton Road, Stoke Gifford, Bristol, BS34 8QZ

How do you include girls in your STEM practice?

  • Hear from experts in role modelling and inclusion for girls in STEM
  • Share your experience of encouraging girls to take up a career in STEM professions
  • Meet science-teachers and educators from across the West

Improving STEM for girls
Led by Laura Fogg Rogers from the University of the West of England, this TeachMeet will feature guest speaker Shaaron Leverment.

Shaaron is from the Association for Science and Discovery Centres, and the Hypatia Project, the EU Horizon 2020 project which is challenging gender stereotyping and sharing the practical top tips that can re-position your practice and make a real difference to the gender-inclusivity of STEM communication.

Come along and share your professional experience in promoting STEM careers to girls in schools/colleges.

What has/has not worked for you? We look forward to meeting you at the event

On arrival please enter through the UWE North Entrance and park in the Exhibition and Conference Centre car park.

Women Like Me – a new engineering outreach project at UWE Bristol

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Only 11% of engineers in the UK are women. Is this enough?

No, it’s really not – we have an engineering skills shortage as it is, and the low proportion of women in the workforce means that a whole pool of talent is going untapped. Girls need to be able to see engineering as for them, connect with it as career and have access to positive female role models. And in turn, women need to feel supported to make a difference in the workplace once they get there, so that they not only go into, but stay in engineering roles.

So what can we do about that, and how can we bring people together? Here at UWE Bristol, we’re launching ‘Women Like Me’; a project which aims to open doors to girls and build resilience for women in engineering. Laura Fogg Rogers and Dr Laura Hobbs will be running the project over the next year; we both have lots of experience of delivering outreach and engagement projects and are passionate about making Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths accessible to everyone, at all stages.


Supporting women and girls in engineering

Women Like Me is a peer mentoring and outreach project aimed at boosting female representation in engineering. So what does that actually mean?

The project will pair senior women engineers with junior women engineers to give them mentoring support as they start out in their engineering careers. In turn, junior women will 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.


Who can take part?

Mid-career and early career female engineers working in the Bristol and Bath area can get involved in the project. Senior women engineers are those who are more than five years post-graduation from their first degree. Junior women engineers are those with less than five years of experience since entering the engineering profession, and can include apprentices, trainees, postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

Undergraduates aren’t eligible to take part; whilst they are fantastic role models, UWE already provides public engagement training for undergraduate engineering students through the Engineering and Society module.

What will it involve?

We will offer networking opportunities to all participants at the start (October 2018) and end (April 2019) of the project. Senior engineers will receive training in mentoring and meet with their junior engineer mentee at least twice during the project.

Junior engineers will receive mentoring support from senior engineers and training in public engagement. They will then undertake at least three engineering outreach activities in local schools and at local public events. Activities and coordination of events is provided and supported by UWE; participation is voluntary and we’ll cover travel expenses.

How can I find out more or sign up?

For more information or to get involved, please email engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk. You can also follow the project on Twitter for updates.


Women Like Me is based in the Science Communication Unit at the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE), supported by the WISE Bristol Hub and STEM Ambassador Hub West England and funded by a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious grant. The project is organised by Dr Laura Hobbs and was initiated by Laura Fogg-Rogers. By matching senior and junior female engineers and supporting junior engineers to connect with the children and young people as the engineers of tomorrow, the project will lead to impact both in the workplace today, and for the future of the engineering profession.

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