Dr Udonna Okeke tells us about a hugely successfull visit of his project, BAME girls in engineering, to Bristol Brunel Academy in this guest post.
BAME Girls in engineering in partnership with UWE BoxED, had an outreach event at the Bristol Brunel Academy on Thursday 9th May and I am extremely excited to say that the feedback from the school has been very positive.
The school is happy with our outreach project and are very keen for more outreach and other engagements with the project. Based on the feedback, the students are very happy with the outreach activities that took place and would like us to make a return visit.
Below is some of the feedback from the students:
“Excellent: it was fun, exiting and very interesting. The robotics coding was very fun, especially when we were controlling the robots”
“I thought it was very good and inspiring and I liked making the turbines and playing with the robots. I want the outreach to happen again on a Thursday”
“It was nice and fun when we listened to the talk and was given the opportunity to code and control the robots”.
This feedback means a lot to me and I am looking forward to the next phase of this project.
On 14th May, Lecturer in Engineering Management Dr Udonna Okeke and Research Fellow and Women Like Me coordinator Dr Laura Hobbs attended the WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) conference in London.
Hosted at the IET, the 2019 conference offered delegates a range of keynote speakers, plenary and panel sessions and breakout workshops. Highlights included insights into how women job hunt, the plasticity of our brains and the complexity of ethics in robotics and AI. Sessions can now be viewed online.
Udonna was able to make some useful connections for his project BAME Girls in Engineering, while Laura was able to discuss the new platform to support girls in STEM, My Skills My Life, with our Women Like Me partners from WISE.
On Friday 8th March 2019, UWE Bristol project BAME Girls in Engineering celebrated International Women’s Day with a visit to Rolls Royce.
The project team, led by Dr Udonna Okeke, took BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity) girls from City Academy Bristol to the Rolls Royce site in Filton for half a day. They received an inspirational presentation session by successful women at Rolls Royce from across the world, tours around the different facilities and a networking session with senior leadership and employees of Rolls Royce.
Udonna told us:
“The students left the event highly inspired, knowing that they can be the next generation of engineers that can impact the world.”
Following the initiation of his new project, BAME girls in engineering, Dr Udonna Okeke tells us about the success of its first school visits in this guest post.
My team and I had our first two school visits for the project at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple Secondary School and City Academy, Bristol. We were involved in workshop presentations and also shared our individual experiences to motivate and inspire the students.
Indeed, we recorded a great success and some of the feedback we received includes:
“It was noticed that the first thing the girls related to you all was regarding identity. This became a platform of introduction/ an ice-breaker, where-by discussing which part of Africa you were from, in relation to their own backgrounds allowed for a rapport to have been built between your groups very quickly”
“This is fun’ ‘Are we going to get to do this again? Can we?”
“Engagement was fantastic. Groups of around 5 or 6 per facilitator made it more valuable. They were asked to think about their personal barriers to success, where they want to be in 5-10 years, how they will get there”.
“Each facilitator had a personal success story, so they were able to share that, they were calm, engaging and clearly knew how to work with this age group”.
“Lots of laughter, good contributions, no behaviour problems, the girls did CAB proud”.
In 2019, I look forward to more school visits, mentorship meetings, industry visits and the success stories that will follow.
Yesterday we were delighted to announce the launch Udonna Okeke’s new UWE Bristol project, BAME girls in Engineering, and we now have the exciting news that dates for the first two school visits for the project have been set. What better way to round off Tomorrow’s Engineers Week 2018 than helping to inspire the next generation?
The project offers opportunities for Black, Asian and minority ethnicity (BAME) girls, who are often under-represented in engineering, in Years 8 and 9 to visit local engineering or technology employers and to participate in mentoring meetings with professional BAME women in engineering role models.
Udonna has arranged two sessions on Wednesday 21st November for BAME girls and women in engineering to meet in group mentoring meetings.
These will take place at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple Secondary School in the morning and City Academy in the afternoon.
Engineers will be involved in workshop presentation and sharing of their individual experiences that can help motivate and inspire the students.
Udonna is currently looking for BAME women in engineering to get involved as mentors; he will organise for a taxi to pick you up from your preferred location in Bristol to take you to the City Academy or St Mary Redcliffe.
If you would like to be involved, please get in touch with Udonna.
A new project sponsored by UWE Bristol has kicked off to encourage, motivate and inspire more girls of Black, Asian and minority ethnicity (BAME) into the fields of Engineering and Technology, where they are often under-represented.
The project offers opportunities for BAME girls in Years 8 and 9 to visit local engineering or technology employers (with all transportation costs covered) and to partake in mentoring meetings with professional BAME women in engineering role models.
“BAME girls in Engineering” is championed by Dr Udonna Okeke, a lecturer in Engineering Design and Mathematics at UWE Bristol. “This mentorship programme will help make the girls feel less alone as they chart a career path in Engineering and Technology,” said Udonna.
The UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe and every year there is a shortfall in engineering skills. It’s estimated that enabling more women to work in engineering and technology could add as much as £28 trillion to the annual GDP in 2025.
Of the 20.5% of women working in the engineering sector in the UK in 2017, only 8.1% were from BAME groups, implying that ethnic diversity in engineering and technology is another crucial issue to be resolved.
The BAME girls in Engineering initiative aims to promote a more diverse group of engineers and create a platform for them to be part of the innovative solutions to the engineering problems in the South West of England and the UK as a whole.
How to get involved
If you’re an engineering or technology employer in the Bristol region and want to get involved you can:
- provide an opportunity for students to visit your engineering sites to see what it means to work on a typical engineering project
- nominate BAME engineers within your company that can act as mentors to the girls in the project.
- take part in UWE hosted celebration event for all those involved in the project in June 2019
To hear more about the project or to get involved as a company or school teacher, please do get in touch with Udonna.
Written by Louisa Cockbill for Engineering Our Future.