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Inspiring more women to choose engineering

encouraging people into engineering careers
A live robot demonstration is on the programme

22 June 2017

  • Aston University celebrating International Women in Engineering day
  • School of Engineering and Applied Science hosting engineering activity day
  • Encouraging girls into engineering careers

Aston University is aiming to inspire young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths subjects tomorrow, Friday 23 June, as it celebrates International Women in Engineering Day. 

The School of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) will be welcoming over 50 female pupils and teachers from local secondary schools and university applicants to a hands-on workshop where they will participate in a chair building competition – using recycled newspapers as the main building material.

The competition will allow students to experience the practical, project based learning approach that is widely used within the School. The day will also include a live robot demonstration and a musical harp as further examples of creativity within engineering.

Dr Kate Sugden, the School's Associate Dean for Enterprise and a researcher in the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT), said: “Engineering is a diverse discipline that uses a multitude of skills in an innovative environment. Tomorrow’s activities is about changing people’s perception of what being an engineer involves and how it can lead to a multitude of interesting careers. 

"We hope the girls attending will find the competition informative and fun and go on to become our next generation of engineers.”

PhD student Reham Badawy, one of the School’s new generation of researchers and who is currently undertaking interdisciplinary research into using smart phones to detect Parkinson’s disease, said: “This is a great day to raise awareness of the outstanding achievements of women in engineering, and a day where women in engineering can show just how much they enjoy the field which is important if we are to demonstrate to young girls that engineering can be an interesting career for them.

“We need to encourage more women into engineering, especially since now more than ever, engineers are having to solve some of the most difficult challenges of our time, and as women, we bring a unique skills set to the table; innovation requires diversity.” 

In 2016, Reham beat 500 other contestants to win the highly prestigious UNESCO L’Oreal Royal Society for Women in Science poster competition for her smart phone research and she was also a role model at a Women of the Future conference designed to educate, advise and inspire Year 10 girls.

The School of Engineering and Applied Science achieved recent recognition of its commitment to addressing gender and other inequalities in academia by achieving the prestigious Athena Swan silver award for the second time after a rigorous accreditation process. 

In addition, the School has just appointed Professor Sarah Hainsworth as its new Pro Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean. Sarah, a highly successful academic leader with demonstrable impact and quality as both a researcher and a teacher, is an elected fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering - the highest honour for an engineer in the UK. She takes up her post in September. 

National Women in Engineering Day was set up on 23 June 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate its 95th anniversary. Since 2014 the day has focused attention on the great opportunities for women in engineering, at a time when it has never been more important to address the engineering skills shortage. Encouraging girls into engineering careers not only improves diversity and inclusion – a business imperative – but enables the significant future job opportunities predicted in this sector to be filled.

ENDS

Notes to the editor

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston University has been always been a force for change. For 50 years the University has been transforming lives through pioneering research, innovative teaching and graduate employability success. Aston is renowned for its opportunity enabler through broad access and inspiring academics, providing education that is applied and has real impact on all areas of society, business and industry.

For more information about the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) and its work visit: www.wes.org.uk

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Susi Turner, Aston University media team on 0121 204 4978 or email s.j.turner@aston.ac.uk

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