The WES (Women’s Engineering Society) recently celebrated their 10th annual Student Conference, with this year’s topic being ‘Building Sustainable Cities and Communities’. I consider myself lucky to have been sponsored by BP to attend this two-day event, alongside two other engineers from the University of Bath.
The weekend gave me the chance to listen to and interact with representatives from global leaders such as Arup, Bosch, Mott Macdonald, Network Rail, Scottish Power and TFL among others. Being addressed by women who in some cases were only a few years older than ourselves, was truly inspiring, and made me realise how women representation is just as much about the message as it is about its effective delivery. This event truly championed the success of Women in Engineering, from building resilient cities of the future for efficient water delivery, to providing mobility solutions in response to changing health dynamics and driving sustainable energy alternatives.
I was particularly impressed with the high calibre of student attendees, hailing from every corner of the country. We had many a conversation about how it feels to be the only woman in the workplace and finding out that this was, in fact, a shared phenomenon gave me renewed energy to challenge societal norms and address the gender imbalance within STEM fields. This event was as much about building a network with industry leaders as it was about creating an invaluable community of peer support from a young age.
As a student, caught up with the highs and lows of University life, one can sometimes forget the initial drive that made you want to take up Engineering in the first place. This conference holds a special place in my heart because it reminded me of exactly this - my passion to solve global challenges and my ambition to create positive change, however small this contribution may turn out to be.
Being in the same room with 80+ female engineers was invigorating. It made me feel that I am part of something much larger than myself - a community of women, students and future leaders all united by their passion to deconstruct gender boundaries in STEM and engineer a better tomorrow.
If you would like to interact with 80+ of some of the best young engineers around the country, hear from companies that are paving the way of the future, and learn key skills like how to power pose before an interview, then I could not recommend this event more. Truly an eye-opening, inspirational and empowering weekend!
Simran Mohnani, Final Year MEng Chemical Engineering