Student Women's Engineering Society (WESBath)

Women In Engineering Society (WES) - newly-found at the University of Bath

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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

 

GE Aviation Workshop

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Dan, Leadership Program Management, Engineering Early Careers,  and Tracie, Engineering Apprenticeship Manager, from GE Aviation arrived on campus on Monday, 20 February to offer us a fantasic employment workshop around understanding what an employer looks for in a CV and cover letter and finally how to make you and your job application stand out.

GE Aviation (4)

The workshop was interactive  and encouraged us all to think about how we tackle job applications, CVs and cover letters - we all came away with some really great tips and do's and don'ts when applying for jobs.

 

2016 WES Conference

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With the support of funding from Roger and Sue Whorrod, WESBath sent 15 current engineering students from across the Engineering & Design faculty to the 2016 WES Student Conference held at Aston University at the end of November.

The two day conference brought together over 150 students who were able to listen to academics and early to mid career engineers speak about their own inspiring stories and encourage students to stand out and how to be great engineers!

All the students who attended appreciated the opportunity to speak with, engage with and interact with the inspirational women (and men!) who are shaping the future of engineering.

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WESBath students at the WES Student Conference

 

Nine different highlights of the WES Student Conference 2016

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Technical & Commercial Leadership
This talk was really useful as speakers from BP shared about their work. I used to think working offshore would be boring as people have to stay away from home for a long period of time and the lack of entertainment. I was surprised how the speaker had enjoyed her work and gained huge satisfaction from the responsibilities she was given. It definitely attracts me to apply for a placement at BP.

Regarding the talk given by a female representative from the British Army, to be frank, I never thought females would enjoy working in the army! It was interesting to learn about the exciting projects she worked on, and the large amount of training they received prior to the start of work. This helped me learn about the work of engineers in an army, and made me realize the importance of teamwork.
Janet (Yin Yu FONG) (Mechanical Engineering – Year 4)
Technical & Commercial Leadership
Having 3 speakers from distinct backgrounds talk to us on their experience was eye-opening. First, two graduates from BP shared their newly started career, and it clearly showed how different the challenges were even though they were working for the same company. Both had a chance to work on impactful projects, which sometimes involved travelling and even going offshore. Similarly, it was very interesting learning more about the British Army, and all the different roles that they offer. After the talk, I definitely felt motivated and I'm looking forward to my engineering-related future.
Yolanda Chan Chan (Mechanical Engineering – Year 4)

Design and Development of Processes, Systems, Services and Products
This session aimed to help us understand the overall concepts of a systems approach to engineering. We went through some definitions of a system, as well as applying them to practical life and examples which made it very simple to picture.  As one of the exercises, we were required to do was connect 9 dots with 4 lines without lifting the pen, which I did not know how to do. However, I am glad to say that this is one of the skills I took home with me from the session.
As Dr Lucas had done a graduate placement at Jaguar Land Rover, she gave me some helpful and insightful tips which have been of help with my placement application to Jaguar Land Rover. I spoke to her after the talk about her career and what she has done, and I was very inspired to really up my game to say the least.
All in all, the conference was great, and I truly appreciate the opportunity that I had to speak to and interact with all the inspirational women (and men), who are shaping the future of engineering.
Elizabeth Macharia (Electrical & Electronic Engineering MSc Electrical Power Systems)

 
Design and development of processes, systems, services and products
The workshop focussed on an introduction to Systems Engineering, a discipline that incorporates technical engineering with elements of controls, philosophy, and organisational studies in order to design, implement, manage and improve complex systems over their lifetime. The workshop started with a group discussion around the definitions of a system and the terms complex and complicated, and then moved on to cover tools for systemic thinking and problem solving. We also worked on defining the boundaries and environment of systems and how knowing these can help to uncover relationships between parts, states and situations. As a Chemical Engineer, it was a completely new way of thinking for me, but I enjoyed the different approach to problems and can definitely see how it might be useful in the future!
Amy Ross (Chemical Engineering – Final year)

Communication and interpersonal skills' workshop
On the second day of the conference, a number of workshops were run; one of these was on communication and interpersonal skills, with a specific focus on presentations and use of the voice. One thing I certainly didn't expect from the conference was to find myself making strange noises trying to talk to someone I’d only just met without using words! Having been given a quick intro into the anatomy of the voice and a crash course on acoustics, we then practised techniques that can be used to warm up the voice, slow your breath and create a more engaging sound in order to stay calm and clear whilst presenting. Having mastered how to use our voices, it was onto tips for creating a flash five-minute presentation with very little prep time – perfect for assessment centres. We all quickly planned presentations on fish and chips using a basic structure and one brave participant headed to the front of the room to give her presentation. We then gave her advice on improving and she had another go. It was a great session, mostly full of laughter and I definitely learnt some good tips and tricks for next time I have to give a presentation.
Sian Ebsworth (Mechanical Engineering – Final year)

Communication & Interpersonal Skills workshop
Dr Jude Brereton from University of York demonstrated us the ways of feeling confident while giving a presentation, the effect of stress in our body, and how we could use our voice in most effective way. We initially wrote the moments we most and least felt confident. Then, we looked at the structure of our throat and breathed in to figure out the differences prior and after the expansion of our lungs and how much air we could store in one intake. This session helped me to realize the movement of my body when I breath. In addition to this, we focused on our voice and its power. After what I have experienced and learnt in the workshop, I will definitely try to focus on a distant point while talking so that my voice actually reaches to the audience at the very back seat and try to take care of my voice as it is one of the primary ways to communicate with other people.
Ilayda Ozaltan (Mechanical Engineering – Year 1)

 
Underground Professional Services
I thoroughly enjoyed the WES Student Conference as it truly inspired me to continue to pursue a career in engineering and encourage more women into the industry. One talk that I particularly enjoyed was by Kate Cooksey from Underground Professional Services. As an undergraduate Civil Engineer I learnt a lot from the projects she’d worked on including the Thames Tidesway Tunnel, Lee Tunnel and Crossrail C510 Whitechapel and Liverpool Street Station. Additionally I was also inspired by how she had launched the ITA Young Members Committee in 2015 as well as the BTS Young Members Committee to inspire the next generation of engineers.
Rachel Hayden (Civil Engineering – year 1)

Why WES?
On Day 2 we found ourselves discovering the importance of the existence of WES with Dr Sarah Peers' talk "Why WES?". This was justified through a somewhat depressing series of numbers and figures, all signifying the shortage of women in STEM professions. Even when it was proven that women excelled in scientific and practical subjects at school, it was shown that very few of them chose to pursue a career in those fields. Is the education system to blame for this? Is it the norms of society? Is it nature, or is it nurture? Dr Peers proved that it is definitely a combination, but it is about time things change. Women (as well as men) are invaluable in the field of engineering as they are in any field where teamwork is a central aspect. But to manage to create the perfectly balanced team of engineers, both genders should be willing to get involved. There is a misconception that women are not as sought out for engineering positions as men are, and unconscious bias among other things does play a role in that. And yet, why is it that women lack confidence and hold back from even applying for these roles? Despite the overall dismal tone of it, the talk ended in a positive note: this is why WES exists. Events like this one are just the cornerstone to making women acknowledge and develop their potential as engineers of all roles, including managerial positions.

Nefeli Poyiatzi (Chemical Engineering – Year 1)     

Role models, identity, and confidence
Dr Joanna's Collingwood speech "Role models, identity and confidence" followed. Making her way to the podium with her little daughter Anna, Dr Collingwood's double role was made clear to us: an associate professor in the Systems and Information stream at the University of Warwick, but also a mother. Inevitably having to miss out on spending time with her daughter during the day, Dr Collingwood illustrated how she made sure that her daughter was surrounded by influential people and potential role models at the university, many of which happened to be fellow engineers, or engineering students. Little Anna grew up watching the tv programme Fireman Sam and aspiring to be like the female member of Sam's fire brigade. She knows no limits as to which gender should pursue which career, and she is used to being surrounded by female engineers. And if there is a single thing in Dr Collingwood's talk that stayed with us, that would be Anna's question to her mother, as a young child surrounded by women in engineering: "Can boys also do engineering, and not only girls?" Her upbringing and nurture made us realise the extent to which people around us are constantly conforming to stereotypes, and how it is in our hands to change this.

Nefeli Poyiatzi (Chemical Engineering – Year 1)     

Conference dinner speaker
The first day of the WES conference concluded with Dr Rhys Morgan, Director of Engineering and Education at the Royal Academy of Engineering, as the after-dinner speaker. You may otherwise know Dr Morgan as the scientist who devised the viral formula of how to win a game of Pooh sticks.
His talk titled ‘Is diversity in Engineering too tough a nut to crack? Let’s find a bigger hammer’ was very witty and engaging. The take home point for me was that dispelling the myths that ‘Engineering is off limits/Science is hard’ starts from when children are at a young age. Part of this is teaching and demonstrating the applicability of Science and Maths in a fun way in schools and at home (I mean, his 4-year-old daughter knows what a non-Newtonian fluid is!).
One of the questions Dr Morgan asked was how many of us in the room knew at least one engineer as children. I was quite surprised at the number of hands in the air. I think that shows the subtle but very important influence visibility as a female engineer can have on children and the wider society. Thanks to Dr Morgan and this conference, I will be taking more advantage of the opportunities to engage with children and teachers during STEM outreaches in schools.
Moyo Adenmosun (Chemical Engineering -final year)

 

 

WESBath kick off semester with seminar and quiz

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WESBath started off the semester with two events on 13 October including networking, quiz and pizza!  At lunchtime new students were invited to come along to a short introductory talk about the background of WESBath and an overview of events planned for this year and following this there was a chance for students to chat to committee members.

In the evening the first of our quiz and pizza social networking events was held in the Tub in the Students' Union.  The challenging quiz questions were set by the committee but pizza and the promise of prizes helped our brain cells!

 

WESBath October Quiz night

WESBath October Quiz night

 

Marble run outreach at St Mark's School

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On Friday 16 September three WESBath members took part in a STEM day at St Marks' School in Bath - engaging Year 6 students with a competitive marble run activity.

Feedback from the school was really positive "Thank you so much to you and your team for your support of our STEM Conference on Friday 16th September.  The children had a great day and the workshop supplied by Jemma, Beth and Shawn was very engaging and challenging for the children - it also brought out a competitive edge to add to the excitement!"

 

 

 

Vanessa Boom - free workshop

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The Student Women's Engineering Society at Bath hosted the Vanessa Boon free workshop, focussing on relevant areas to all women engineers.

Vanessa is an experienced and inspirational trainer in aiding people to unlock their full potential. She became the founder, Managing Director & Principal Consultant of her business, Energise, enlightening females in male-dominated environments to speak with confidence, be it in a lecture, business or even social situation. She aids both individuals and organisations to break down any barriers which may hold them back.

Vanessa was extremely engaging with her audience, involving every single person in the room and inspiring the female engineers to have their say. The workshop was accompanied by group activities in tables, to encourage the female engineers to chat with someone they had not met before, easing everyone into the workshop. There was a great turnout with females from all Bath Engineering disciplines such as Mechanical, Electrical, Civil and even Architecture. The workshop was then followed by a tea and coffee break and the chance to network with everyone in the workshop and further consolidate their new confidence skills!

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WES February Workshop

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workshop-cropped

“Don’t wait to be invited” was the message of the day when a group of female undergraduates and postgraduates in the Faculty of Engineering and Design took part in a confidence building and career boosting workshop delivered by WISE trainer Vanessa Boone, Founder MD of Energise, on Wednesday 25th February 2015. The workshop was energetic, fast moving and fun with the students working on interactive tasks designed to boost self confidence and give them practical experience of being proactive about raising their profile. How to be confident when speaking in public and the importance of networking were all covered during the afternoon session alongside how to be assertive, interview techniques and self promotion without cringing. The event included the opportunity for the group to practise their new found skills as the afternoon concluded with refreshments and time to network. Those attending praised the “energetic and helpful speaker”, and said they had found the event “inspiring”, “gave me lots of confidence” and that they would “use the tips to raise my profile”, “remind myself to be assertive”, “ set personal goals” and that “fear is not real”. This was the first training event organised by the WESBath student group. If you would like more information on future events and activities email wesbath@bath.ac.uk and visit the website at www.bath.ac.uk/engineering/women/society.