On Wednesday 15th February, students from the School of Engineering & Applied Science held their first undergraduate conference.
The conference was organised by students from societies including Mathletes, CEAC Society, and Aston Engineering Society, and was billed as an opportunity for students to explore what’s next in engineering and applied science.
The event was chaired by three students, Shona Pancholi, Mariam Hayat and Ali Kamareddine.
One of the external speakers invited to present at the conference was Madeleine Jones, an Aston graduate who now works as a Deputy Operations Manager at Sellafield Ltd. Madeleine discussed her experience of working at a nuclear site, as well as new builds and the future of research and development.
Professor Robert Matthews, Science Consultant for BBC Focus was also invited to present, and discussed what the past reveals about the future. The third speaker was Dr James Beard, Principal Economic and Social Development Consultant at Mott MacDonald. Dr Beard discussed a non-engineer’s experience of working for an engineering firm.
Following on from the external speakers, four of our own students took to the floor. The student speakers were chosen after they submitted abstracts covering a range of topics, prior to the conference. First up was Gary Singh, a mathematics with economics student who discussed transitioning from cash-based to digital transactions in the years to come. Suliman Mangal, who is currently studying chemical engineering, then followed with a presentation on desalination to tackle water scarcity.
The penultimate speaker was Scott Street, a computer science student who discussed how we can protect ourselves online through encryption and using decentralised networks. Hibo Abdulrahman, who studies business and mathematics, closed the show by exploring how pioneering technology could revolutionise the war on hunger using big data.
After the presentations, delegates were invited to put their questions to the panel of industry and student speakers. They were able to ask questions about the presentations, the science and engineering industries, and employability – something they found to be very valuable!
The event ended with a networking and refreshments session, where students could chat informally to EAS staff, students from other subject areas within the school, industry professionals and graduate recruiters.
Our three external speakers were asked to choose the best student presentation. Scott Street was the winner, and was awarded with £250. Our runners-up, Gary, Suliman and Hibo each won £100. Certificates were presented to the students by Dr Trevor Oliver, the School’s Deputy Dean and Associate Dean Undergraduate Programmes.
Plans are now underway to plan the 2018 Undergraduate Conference.