Dr Min Pan, Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Enginering, talks about her NWED day -read the conversation here.
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!
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!
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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
With Christmas lurking around the corner, WESBath couldn’t have thought of a better gift. Seminar and a networking event with representatives from P&G, mince pies and drinks. We also had the former WES president amongst us. Icing on the cake!
Irina Yanshina, who works at the Supply Network Operations department (SNO-One of the many acronyms P&G is fond of!), spoke to us about the structure of P&G and what her job is like with SNO. She claimed that her love for travelling and adventure was well catered to by her job as her role in the company involved a lot of travel.
Sandra Martinelli spoke about her journey in P&G (she has never worked anywhere else!) and her career development in the Engineering sector. As our audience largely comprised of soon to be graduates, this was a definite morale booster. Her job profiles have been varied and never once monotonous. From designing equipment which made Pringles (She got free Pringles!) to going down to the plant with a toolkit to troubleshoot problems, she shared her views on how imperative it is to have a sound background in both theoretical as well as practical aspects of engineering. Another highlight of her talk was the gender equality which P&G maintains while recruiting employees and how P&G lets women especially to make choices and allows them to have flexible career profiles which helps them balance both their personal and professional life.
Paul Dodd, also from P&G, was present to illustrate the fact that support of male engineers/ co-workers has a positive effect on the development of women engineers and offered useful insights and suggestions to some of the questions posed by the audience.
I also got a chance to interact with Dawn Bonfield, former WES president who was keen on hearing all about the student WES conference which took place in Birmingham a few weeks back. She was impressed with the active representation WESBath had at the conference.
I am eagerly looking forward for the series of exciting events WESBath has in store the next year (The IET event in particular!). It is always exhilarating to be amongst motivated and passionate women engineers.
Have a lovely Christmas break!
PhD student, Department 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
Having started my PhD less than two months ago, when I heard about the student Women Engineering Society conference, I immediately signed up for it for the sheer curiosity. Little did I know, it would have the kind of impact it did on my thought process.
The conference began on a very positive note from Kay Plumley (Proctor and Gamble), who spoke about her role in managing factory operations, which in itself is an achievement as such positions are always thought to be the forte of men. She also instilled in me the confidence that women engineers can successfully balance their professional and personal life without compromising on either. The panel discussions which followed were very well structured. The session on electronics and materials had speakers from Instron, Altera and UTC Aerospace. For someone who was always told that PhD holders were over-qualified for jobs in industry, this couldn’t have been a better session as two out of three speakers had a doctorate and were in notable positions in their respective companies. The career path of each of the speakers was varied, sometimes confounding, but always driven by passion and faith which has today put them in a position equal to and even above their male counterparts. The ice-breaker session was a good start to the evening when engineers were allowed to dabble with finance and stocks. We were put in groups of different countries, provided with some resources and asked to trade off with other countries for a week and finally liquidate the assets. Though the aim was to lead the cash table, the session actually threw light on how soft skills get overlooked in an engineering curriculum and is as imperative as sound technical knowledge.
The highlight of the evening was the conference dinner which was intellectually appetizing. I was seated at the Karen Burt table (sponsored by BAE) and hosted by Anne Madsen whose presence was infectious. The food was sumptuous and conversation extremely stimulating. Conversations with women engineers from different walks of life was a start to some new friendships and interesting insights about their journey thus far as engineers. The first woman president of Institute of Engineering and Technology, Naomi Climer, beat dessert (Chocolate mousse!) and stole the spot light with her journey as an engineer and her role as the president. Her very presence was inspiring. I am looking forward to hear from her more at the WES Bath IET event (March is not that far!).
The following day kick started with great sessions and talks. I was particularly impressed by Anne Madsen (BAE systems) who spoke at length about the wrong turns she took in life but about how satisfied she is today about being a woman engineer and a mother (She has been on the Antarctic mission, walked with the penguins and now designs ships and also tests (breaks!) their endurance. How cool is that?!). Professional membership and marketing yourself as an engineer go hand in hand and Victoria Batchelor, from IChemE gave useful insights about getting chartered, increasing employability and how the society has a range of opportunities for support and development of engineers. This session was a boon for me as I had missed out on professional body memberships back home. As they say, “Better late than never!”
The session which followed was pillars of success, which focused on some soft skills like communication, leadership and confidence building and created a support system for women engineers. The last session was focussed on Energy and Risk and we heard exciting talks from engineers from BP, Scottish and Southern Energy and FM Global. The latter deals with engineering risk management and it was quite interesting to know about the amalgamation of engineering and insurance sector.
No sooner than it began, the conference had to end. Though the conference was spanned over only two days, it was exhilarating when I come to terms with the experience, motivation and a mutual bonding amongst women engineers. In the words of Naomi Mitchison, “Engineers are made, not born”, it is the need of the hour that the existing community of women engineers be nurtured and supported whilst a new group of women engineers are inducted to the community, which in my view has the power to change the face of the world. Thank you WES Bath for giving me a chance to be a part of the one of a kind conference. It has been the best conference experience ever!
Post Grad Chem Eng Student
Ten members of WESBath were given the opportunity to attend the WES Student Conference on 20th and 21st November at Aston University, Birmingham. This was a brilliant chance for us to meet inspiring engineers from industry and around 150 other female engineering students, as well as to stay in a lovely conference hotel and eat some great food!
On the first day, after an introduction and presentations by engineers from Dialog Semiconductor and Proctor & Gamble, the group split to attend two different panel sessions, on “Academia or Industry?” and electronics & materials, before a fun icebreaker session which focussed on psychology and ended with groups of students designing quick concentration experiments to do in the session. Later on we had a brilliant networking opportunity at dinner where the seating plan allowed students to interact with engineers from WES sponsors. We were lucky enough to listen to a captivating after dinner speech by Naomi Climer, President of the IET.
The second day began with a welcome back and presentations from the chair of the student WES committee at York University and two inspirational female engineers from Selex ES and BAE Systems. After refreshments, we took part in an interesting workshop run by a coaching expert on “6 Pillars of Career Success for Women in Engineering”. This was followed by a buffet lunch, after which an engineer on a graduate scheme at Selex ES presented “CVs and Interviews with Impact”.
The conference ended with a fascinating panel session on alternative engineering. Presenters from PolyPhotonix and Mars Petcare UK spoke about how they are involved in engineering that focusses on health and the environment.
I think everyone who attended the conference came away feeling inspired and excited about a future in engineering. I would definitely recommend it to any student that has the chance to go next year!