Dawn Bonfield MBE is an expert on diversity and inclusion in engineering, and is Past President and former Chief Executive of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), a 98 year old charity working to promote, inspire and support women in engineering. She is a Materials Engineer by profession, and has worked in the automotive and aerospace industries with Citroen, BAE Systems, MBDA, the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3). She is a Chartered and European Engineer, a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (FIMMM), a Fellow of WES, and an Honorary Fellow of Institution of Structural Engineers.
Her role at Aston will be to work on the delivery of a project called Inclusive Engineering, which aims to embed inclusion into the engineering curricula, and to champion a diverse and inclusive culture within the Engineering School. Engineering as a profession faces the challenges of a skills shortage, a lack of diversity leading to reduced creativity and innovation, and an outdated image problem which prevents it from attracting a diverse range of applicants. By focusing on ensuring that students learn the personal competencies of inclusion and the professional reasons and methods for producing inclusive engineering solutions, this will ensure that the next generation of engineers has the skills, competencies and attributes needed to create a culture of inclusive engineering for the future. She will be working with staff and students of the Department, in addition to creating some online media content which can be shared more widely.
Dawn was awarded an MBE in the 2016 Honours list for the promotion of diversity in engineering, and in 2016 was also winner of a WISE award, the SEMTA award for Diversity, the Association Congress Award for best campaign for National Women in Engineering Day – of which she is the Founder – and was a finalist in the Global Engineering Deans Council Global Diversity Award.
She is currently organising a Year of Engineering UK Roadshow entitled Meet the Parents, and is joint curator of a project to design sculptures for the empty plinths of Waterloo Bridge in London.