On a wet and windy day on campus, Cat Savage, Technical Director of BMT Defence Services, came to talk to students about her educational and career path to her current role as Technical Director.
Cat gave a fascinating insight into how important it is to take opportunities when they arise and the value of having the advice and guidance of mentors along the way.
Despite some minor technical glitches, it was a great to hear Cat talk and she was kept busy for some time with students queuing up to chat to her after the talk had finished! Thank you so much to Cat for giving up her time.
Parimala Shivaprasad thanks Cat Savage at the end of the seminar
June 23rd 2016, important not only for a defining referendum, but also National Women in Engineering Day (NWED). NWED is an international campaign aiming to raise the profile of women in engineering and showcase career opportunities available to girls in the industry and WESBath welcomed 50 year 7 and 8 girls from local schools to enjoy a taste of what it is like to be an engineer.
A morning of hands-on activities ensued, with the girls dividing their time between building straw towers (hopefully!) able to hold a beaker of water, and donning lab coats and goggles to purify water in the chemical engineering labs. It was great to see the girl’s teamwork and competitive spirits coming together in the quest to get the purest water or strongest tower. And if you’re wondering how to get a 45cm tower of just paper straws and sellotape to hold a beaker of water I’ll give you a hint, triangles!
Students build a straw tower
The Water Challenge group activity, held in the Department of Chemical Engineering, engaged the participants in the use of natural materials for the purification of water. For the lab-based activity, the students were divided into small working groups and, as ‘Water Detectives’, they trialled the use of activated carbon in water treatment. Following the instructions, each group built their own set-up and pumped ‘contaminated water’ (coloured with food dye) through an activated-carbon column-also constructed by them. The teams who managed to produce and collect the “cleanest” water won our WES prizes!
Students purify water
The girls thoroughly enjoyed their morning, and hopefully we helped spark an interest in engineering that may shape their studies to come.
Chrysoula Papacharalampou Bethan Charles
Mechanical Enginering Chemical Engineering
An overcast, windy day in March didn’t stop school children, teachers and parents from local schools enjoying Bath Taps into Science 2016. This week long event is aimed at encouraging young children to take active interest in STEM subjects.
WESBath students prepared for students to arrive
Our public engagement reps have been working hard to produce simple and exciting working models and experiments like paper cup boomerangs (demonstrating the magnus effect), rubber band cars (explaining energy storage and conversion), membranes for safe drinking water and a sword in the sand demonstration (showing the effect of soil compaction)
Students enjoying engineering!
It was great that so many children were excited to be educated about engineering and they were able to take handouts for some of the experiments.
WESBath students were on the stand for the whole day and everyone enjoyed interacting with enthusiastic students and teachers. It is great to be able to do outreach work to support and encourage students to consider engineering as a great career path.
Working together with the Somerset & West Wilts IET Network, WESBath welcomed Naomi Climer, President of the IET, to the Univerisity of Bath on Tuesday, 8 March.
Roger Whorrod chats to some WESBath students.
The evening was a great success with over 150 guests coming along to celebrate International Women's Day. The event started with a display of WESBath's work over the past year including examples of activities we use when visiting local schools. A mixture of engineers, students and staff then listened to Naomi, the first female president of the IET, who spoke about how engineering and technology will shape the future and how important it is ensure diversity within engineering. The lecture was inspirational and thought provoking.
Some of the WESBath committee display an outreach activity
Students enjoying Naomi Climer's talk
Afterwards, there was a networking reception at The Edge. What better way to celebrate International Women's Day!
The WESBath Committee received a deserved nomination for Volunteer Team of the Year at the BANES Chairman’s Community Awards 2015/16.
The nomination was for the committee's work helping to inspire school girls in the local area to consider engineering as a career as well as providing support for current female engineering students through regular seminars, networking opportunities as well as working together at outreach events.
We attended the awards ceremony and had a great night – the worthy winners were The Bath Soup Run.
Sarah, Student Experience Officer
Corsham School held at STEM day on the 8th January 2016 and three members of WESBath (Jemma Rowlandson, Leen Jabban and myself) were invited to organise a hands-on workshop for year 9 students with the object to create awareness and generate interest about engineering. The task for the day was to build a tower at least 45cm tall with paper straws and balance a beaker of water on top of it.
The main objective of this task was to get the students to think which shape was strong enough to withstand the force and most of the teams figured out that triangles offered better resistance.We worked with two separate groups of 20 students – in the first session an all girls’ team won the task and were able to balance 950g of water on their tower. In the second session a team of boys were successful in balancing 1.10kg of water, which was the highest capacity for that day as well. There were prizes for the winning teams and a prize for the best team name which was Ninjaneers!
The half-day session also helped us to educate the students about various branches of engineering and it was not all about just ‘fixing things’. The students were excited that there was more to engineering and some of them even expressed interest in taking up engineering in the future.
As a team, we hope to have changed the perception of engineering and STEM to these students!
PhD Research Programme in Chemical Engineering, Dept of Chemical Engineering
Attending the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Student Conference at Aston University in November was inspirational and amazing. On arrival we had companies such as Selex, Dialog, Instron, Altera, UTC Aerospace, Mars, BP and Proctor and Gamble (P&G) both at stands in the foyer to greet us and then in speeches given by female engineers from the industries who spoke about pursuing their dreams and getting involved in everything they could. The achievements and experiences they’ve gained were fascinating. We had various activities and teambuilding icebreakers to do. (Ours was to design a farm; originally an easy task however, as more challenges were added, we got surprisingly into it.) A lovely four course meal with the companies and other engineers from other universities was lovely. It was nice to get to know other women from other universities who were surprisingly like you. At the meal, Naomi Climer (president of the IET) gave a speech - she was inspirational.
On the second day, activities included speeches and quite a lot of food! I was particularly taken by one lady who throughout her life had a love for the sea and for ice. She used engineering to take her right across the world, fighting seals, visiting amazing tourist attractions and exploring the world. She’s been a lecturer, in the army, in various forms of the Royal Marines, working on royal navy ships, designing, building and testing various boats and ships including those going to aid other countries in need. She’s even been to Antarctica. I love how her interests and passions could be intertwined into her perfect job, doing breath-taking things. She’s even tested boats to the breaking point and coped with high voltage engine rooms fill with water while being 6 months pregnant. All the women who gave talks and the students attending were inspirational!
I didn't know what to expect going to the conference. However, after attending the conference, I have so many memories and inspirational stories to hold onto, giving me something to aspire and work towards. A brilliant experience which only increases my love of engineering. Fantastic. I would certainly recommend joining WES to gain valuable information about women in engineering.
1st Year - Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Thank you to everyone that attended the first two WES events of the year!
It was really encouraging to see so many of you in the seminar. I hope it provided a useful introduction to some of the committee members about what we do outside of WES. It was a lovely to hear your stories and how passionate you were to support women in engineering! Sorry to those, who had lectures and couldn’t attend 🙁
The Pub Quiz had a great turnout too – great to see a lot of familiar faces from the seminar earlier that day. Thank you for bringing all your friends along too! It was lovely to see everyone mingling
together- we hope it was a useful opportunity to get to know other members of the society. We managed to polish off 10 large pizzas- so I think it goes without saying that we enjoyed them!
Well done to the winners for the best team name (Windmills- I’m not a fan) and the highest scoring team! I hope you enjoyed your chocolate treats 🙂
See you at our next event!
Kristin and Dominique
Some of the WESBath Committee at the pub quiz
WESBath pub quiz
WESBath has been affiliated with the national Women’s Engineering Society (WES) for over a year now. It’s been great to have their support throughout the first year, with their president, Dawn Bonfield, attending our Christmas event and having them feature us in their official journal, The Woman Engineer. I was very excited when I was asked to be a member of WES council, both to learn more about WES and to be able to give something back to the society.
I attended my first meetings on Saturday 10th October. The day started with the council meeting. After some quick introductions it was straight down to business. Some of the things discussed that were relevant for the student groups were the timing of the WES student conference and setting up a network of student WES committees across different universities.
The council meeting was followed by lunch, which allowed for networking. After lunch the AGM kicked off. In the AGM, which is open to all members of WES, a presentation was given to current members of the society about what WES have been up to this year. After this new council members were elected and Benita Mehra was appointed as the new president of WES. The financial statement for the year was also presented.
Following the AGM, we were treated to a lecture from Henrietta Heald on WES founder Rachel Parsons. Rachel was the first president of the society from 1919 until 1921, and continued her engagement with the council for many years after this. It was great to hear about such an inspiring and forward-thinking woman!
In celebration of National Women in Engineering Day (NWED) I was invited, on behalf of WESBath, to attend a British Gas Panel Event to celebrate this magnificent anniversary and discuss all matters of importance that surround it.
On 23rd June 2015, at the King’s Road, London location, a panel of inspiration female engineers assembled to discuss the future of Women in Engineering as well as what can be done to promote Women Engineers in the future. The panel consisted of Claire Miles (Managing Director of British Gas Homecare), Nadia Abbas (British Gas Engineer and Success Coach), Dr Arti Agarwal (Professor from the School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering at City University) and Dawn Bonfield (the President of our very own national Women’s Engineering Society) while the event was chaired by Dickson Ross (Editor of Engineering & Technology magazine).
For me, the event truly invigorated my motivation to promote engineering and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) subjects to younger female students. The topics of the ‘Challenges and opportunities for women in engineering’ and ‘Why aren’t women engineers aren’t celebrated?’ were deliberated in depth (videos of the matters discussed can be found on the following YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1RSxqLw7W4Y6a5hw5h2ZkT5u9niRCvXI)
Issues that only women would encounter in the work place were a key feature of the discussions which I found incredible intriguing because, as a final year student, as I will be heading into the working world in a few short months! Issues such as retention of female engineers after they’ve started families, ‘flexible working programs’, how to get children interested in engineering as well as the cliché allegation that ‘women distract men’ in the workplace all need to be challenged and changed – but how? Now that’s the important task we all need to work together to achieve.
Many thoughts of the panellists concerning these themes have been summarised in a British Gas blog:
The future of engineering is bright; especially for females. As the concept of engineering grows and changes so do the skills and requirements of engineers. The future holds untold opportunities including the combination of humanities, technology, ethics and engineering as well as data analytics, robotics, artificial technology and green technology. To increase the exposure of young females to engineering, the status quo must be defied while teachers and parents alike must encourage all their children into careers in STEM subjects. They are the future.
The panellists all agreed that we, as a nation and engineering as an industry, needs more non-traditional routes into engineering and especially to recruit female engineers in different ways. Diversity is required in the breadth of ‘pipeline’ into engineering hence the industry must work with Universities and the Government to provide these routes. Finally, we need to create awareness of the amazing accomplishments engineers achieve, both publically and internally within companies, which in turn will attract more females. Engineers have the capacity to positively impact society which naturally appeals to females so the industry needs the support to overcome the underlying barriers that stop women from pursuing a career in engineering.
If you would like any more information about British Gas then have a look at their website.
Thank you for reading and I hope you feel as inspired as I was. #WESBath #NWED