One evening in early December five WESBath members visited the Weston Village Guides to tell them all about engineering.
The Weston Village Guides made towers in small groups
We chatted to a group of about 25 guides and then gave them all the task of building towers, capable of supporting a glass flask of water. As they planned, designed and then built their towers, we helped them out and explained some of the basic engineering principles behind the straw structures.
WESBath students supported the Guides to build a successful straw tower
The winning team, the WCDA (Women Can Do Anything) team, built a great structure in record time – we loved the team name too!
The winning tower
One of the girls approached us in the end and told us she wants to become an engineer to help people and that made my day!
Leen Jabban 3rd Year MEng Integrated Mechanical & Electrical Engineering
As a second year PhD student, I have found the event most useful while listening the career paths of number of women engineers who have decided to move into industry rather than staying in academics after their higher educations. As a doctoral student who is very keen on moving towards an industrial career, it is very exciting to see the various research opportunities available in industry.
The talks were very beneficial on showing how diversity (good balance of academics, industrial experience and moving around different countries) is quite important on a good career path.
One of the WES Conference 2017 talks
I should also emphasize the fact that the conference venue, food and the accommodation provided for the overnight stay were quite impressive. I would definitely attend the conference if I were to receive another chance.
Integrated PhD Sustainable Chemical Technologies, Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
I really enjoyed my time at the conference - spending time with similar minded women all at the same point in their career and hearing about all their different backgrounds and reasons for studying engineering was really inspiring. The WES Young Members Board Panel Discussion: 'Getting on the career ladder: your questions answered.' was one of the most rewarding parts of the weekend. Hearing from professionals who are not much further ahead in their professional career than myself and finding out the steps they have taken not that long ago to be where they are really gave me a sense of confidence about my life after university. The young members gave some great advice about where to start when it comes to choosing a career and specialising post-education.
As well as this, listening to Dawn Childs who has spent her life as a female engineer made me realise that if I start a career in one direction, I don't have to continue with it. The idea that career movements do not have to be leaps forward but can indeed be movements sideways or even backwards was eye opening and the motion that success can be measured in different ways has made me feel much less intimidated by the 'career ladder'.
WESBath members at the WES Conference 2017
I would definitely recommend the event to other student engineers in the future. The events above were just a couple of the highlights and there were many more interesting panels/discussions revolving around changes and issues in the industry for all engineering disciplines.
Amy Donohoe - Vice-Chair of WESBath
MEng (hons) Civil and Architectural Engineering - 5th year
The WES conference proved to be a very inspiring event for me. Meeting women who have progressed exceptionally in the engineering field has given me an insight into what it means to be a female in the industry and how engineering companies can greatly benefit from recruiting a more diverse workforce. I learnt how to ensure that a CV is effective and the importance of having excellent presentation and interpersonal skills.
Furthermore, the theoretical knowledge I gained from my undergraduate study was put into context by listening to female engineers talk about the how engineering can be used to benefit developing countries, highlighting that engineering not only has a physical impact, but it can also have a social benefits too.
MEng (hons) Chemical Engineering - 2nd Year
I have recently attended the International Society for Technology in Arthroplasty (ISTA) congress. ISTA was established in 1988 and is dedicated to advancing the art and science of technology in joint replacement by connecting the leading clinicians, engineers, researchers and industry members from around the globe, about 400 people attended the conference this year.
International Society for Technology in Arthroplasty (ISTA) congress
This year was the 30th annual congress, celebrated in Seoul from the 20th to the 23rd of September. The conference was held at the Shilla Hotel, and its content varied between different categories of joint arthroplasty, from ankles to shoulders, although it was primarily based on hip and knee replacements. This year there was a session on implant biology, as well as on global practices and economics. In this last session Seth Greenwald, had a presentation on managing the cost of advancing technologies. This is a very hot topic right now, both in the UK with the increasing costs of the NHS as well as worldwide. One of my favourite sessions was “What’s New?” where the new advancements in technology in arthroplasty are presented. This year Prof. Laurent Sedel presented his new alumina on alumina total knee replacement, a very interesting and controversial product. Additionally, the conference had a workshop on computational modelling, where the problems associated with finite element analysis were discussed, as well as the ways in which it can be used to advance the industry.
Sonia presenting “In vitro comparison of the stiffness and flexibility protocols using a lumbar porcine model” at the conference
My presentation, titled “In vitro comparison of the stiffness and flexibility protocols using a lumbar porcine model” took place in the “Beyond hips and knees” session. The session had good attendance and I got a good number of questions asked, one of them from the session moderator, Dr Thay Q Lee, a senior researcher at the University of California Irvine. I also met a number of senior academics with whom I would be interested in working or collaborating with in the future, including Nico Verdonschot, Phil Noble and Hani Haider.
Overall, attending ISTA was a fantastic experience, and it made me grow as an engineer and as a researcher, since I was exposed to new developments and different ways of thinking. I am very grateful to WES Bath and Caterpillar for providing me with the funding to make it possible for me to attend the conference, and I hope I can keep attending this conference in the future.
Sonia Ramos Pascual – Sept 2017
I was granted the BP Women in Engineering Award by BP and WESBath in 2017 for my participation in The GREEN Program organised in Iceland over 10 days. The flagship course in Iceland focuses on renewable energy and sustainability and is dedicated for students who wish to study abroad as a part of their undergraduate/graduate studies.
Yui Yan and the other participants in the Green Programme
The course was a mixture of lectures at Reykjavik University in topics including Energy Policy, Geothermal Energy and Hydro Power, and site visits and I gained an first-hand insight on the operation of power plants including visiting
- Hellisheiði Power Station
- Svartsengi Geothermal Power Plant
- Gunnuhver Geothermal Area
- Elliðaár Hydroelectric Power Plant
The trip included many outdoor adventure excursions such as glacier walking, super-jeeping, hiking, snorkeling and visits to waterfalls and geysers. I never expected to step beyond my limits, yet I accomplished far more than I had ever hoped. Through taking hot spring at the top of Hengill volcano and exploring Þingvellir National Park, I had many networking opportunities with other 42 talented participants selected competitively by TGP.
Yui Yan in Iceland
Being surrounded by highly motivated friends from US, UAE and Canada, I transformed into a more open-minded, confident and daring individual through adventurous activities like snorkeling between tectonic plates in Silfra and hiking on Sólheimajökull Glacier. I also learnt more about the Nordic culture through camping in Þórsmörk. Throughout the trip, the nature acted as our classroom and hence I became more environmentally conscious.
Yui Yan Wong, Civil Engineering, Year 4
As a group of 6 civil engineering students, we spent 6 weeks working with the organisation Sport in Action in Lusaka, Zambia. Sport in Action aid the development of young people through sport.
We were heavily involved with two main projects, with the intention to see these from start to finish, from negotiating with contractors to overseeing all stages of the construction.
One project was the construction of a netball court at a high school, for use by the school and community. As well as project management, we were involved with the design, where we used previous knowledge from university as well as learning and adapting to local methods used by the contractors.
The other project was the renovation of changing rooms which were in a state of disrepair, including a degrading asbestos roof, for which there had been plans to remove parts and patch it up. This obviously was a severe hazard, and we found that awareness of the health implications of asbestos was much less than that in the UK. Therefore, a main focus was to implement suitable health and safety measures for the handling and total removal of the asbestos, and we hope to have raised awareness for all involved.
We also had the opportunity to visit a rural site outside of Lusaka, where Sport in Action were involved in the construction of some latrines for an elementary school and asked for us to advise on these. Visiting the site was a great experience, with already existing latrines, to see things that we had learnt about at university in practice. We were able to give advice and produce drawings and required quantities for the project. Throughout, we were able to experience the Zambian culture and way of life; living with locals in a typical residential area of Lusaka, buying from the local markets and taking the public buses.
Overall, the projects have been successful and greatly beneficial; we have produced quality constructions which should last for years to come, increasing sporting opportunities and benefiting the local communities. As students, by being so heavily involved, we were able to apply and develop knowledge gained at university, whilst also gaining many new skills, and the added adaptation to a new culture.
Lana Harding, Final year Civil and Architectural Engineering
Soapbox science is a unique platform for women scientists and postgraduate researchers to showcase and engage the public with their research. Organised at various cities in the UK and abroad, popular public places are converted to speaker arenas and each speaker gets about an hour to explain and interact with the public about what they research on. I applied to speak at the Bristol soapbox science event and was selected to be one among the twelve speakers from a competitive pool of applications. The title of my talk was “What connects sheep and a DJ? My research is all about finding an answer to that question!”. My research focuses on integrating sustainability into the current chemical processing methodology. I am trying to achieve this by using wool as a catalyst support and using these catalysts cloth in a Spinning Mesh Disc Reactor (or a DJ-disc like reactor!) to improve process efficiency. Before the event, there was a training workshop to familiarise the speakers about the format of the event and to come up with a rough outline for the talk. We were also allocated some funds for any props we were going to use.
Parimala on her Science Soapbox!
Being an avid science communicator, I have spoken about my research in events like science show-off, pint of science, 3 minute thesis and even busked about my research last summer at the Bristol and Bath Festival of Nature. However, the format for soapbox science is both exciting and challenging. In Bristol, the arena was set-up in the Broadmead area. This meant we had to get the public on high street enthused to listen to what we had to say.
So the possibility of not having anyone around your stall is also quite high and a bit scary! Luckily that was not the case and I was able to get a good number of public as an audience even with a lurking threat of a downpour. Each speaker also got a volunteer who did a great job of helping us with our props and also facilitating with the crowd around us. Post event, we had a small celebration with the organisers and the volunteers at a pub near-by.
I enjoyed being a part of the event in Bristol this year, though I was a bit apprehensive initially about the challenges of the format! This is a fantastic platform for women scientists to involve the public with their research in a more informal setting. I would highly recommend other women postgraduate researchers to be a part of this amazing initiative.
You can find out more about Soapbox Science at http://soapboxscience.org/ and read my pre-event blog here
Coupled with my role as a STEM Ambassador, I was delighted to represent WSP, who I am working for as a placement undergraduate students, and conduct demonstrations at The Big Bang Fair, held at the Trinity Centre in Bristol on 6-7 July 2017. It was an incomparable event because young people in the region had the chance to find out about the opportunities available in science and engineering.
Yannis showing boys the Magnus effect experiment
We tried to expose visitors to different disciplines that the Company offers using various demonstrations. Flood modelling stimulation using plasticine - Water Engineering using visualisation of vibrating waves - Acoustic Engineering using a Jenga Tower experiment - Structural Engineering and simple plastic cups to demonstrate the Magnus effect were a few examples conducted over the two days. Many were amazed by these experiments but the reaction from an eight-year-old that was exceptionally noticeable: after he completed the flood modelling exercise by successfully diverting the water and protecting the ‘houses’ from flooding, he shouted
“I can be a Water Engineer!”
If one passes on a positive message about STEM, just like the ripple effect, then STEM may be considered by many more as their career path. This is why I love volunteering for outreach - it's so satisfying and we should never underestimate the enthusiasm of young people!
Encouraging girls to consider engineering as a career.
Yui Yan WONG
Kirsten Bodley, CEO of WES
Being recently elected as the Co-Chairs of WESBath alongside with Leen Jabban, I was invited to attend the WES Student Groups Meeting held at UCL on 28th June, 2017.
The day commenced with an introduction given by the Chief Executive of WES, Kirsten Bodley. It was then followed by a short update regarding the Young Members Board (YMB) presented by the Student Groups and Universities Liaison, Dr. Jo Douglas (Ex-chair of WESBath). After that, Abbie Robison from Loughborough and Christie Sherlock from Glasgow shared their inspiring achievements on the career fair held in Loughborough and FEMENG partnership initiative in Rwanda respectively. Subsequent to the networking opportunity during lunch, we had an open forum to discuss issues and ideas about student groups.
The meeting was very uplifting no only because I had the opportunity to meet other passionate individuals, but I was also truly amazed by the good work delivered by other student groups. It was good speak to the President of WES, Benita Mehra, to learn more about what WES has to offer as well. In addition, having discussed with representatives from other universities, we will look into organizing inter-uni events in the future (Very exciting indeed! We will keep you updated!).
Massive thanks to WES for organizing this event and I look forward to working closely with other student groups.
Do you know? YMB is currently recruiting for 3 new members (deadline of application: 30th June, 2017). Should you get elected, you are required to attend meetings quarterly. To apply, you will need a supporting statement from the University (contact WESBath@bath.ac.uk). If interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yui Yan WONG (Yannis)