The Faculty of Engineering last week delivered its first summer school for 11-14 girls, immersing them in a five day programme of hands on activities.
The UK has the lowest proportion of female engineers in the European Union, less than one in ten engineering professionals is a woman. But this is not solely a gender issue the Perkins report on Engineering Skills stated that we need to train more engineers as we are already facing a shortage of engineers in the workforce in the UK. As a world renowned engineering institution Imperial is well placed to play a key role in ensuring this gap is filled.
A common issue for many aspiring engineers is that they do not continue to study maths and physics through to A-level, which often limits or rules out a number of engineering disciplines. This is particularly true for girls with less than 20% female A-level physics students, a number which has changed little over the past two decades.
The Faculty of Engineering took a proactive step last week to tackle this issue by running an Engineering Summer School for 11-14 year old girls.
Dr Jenna Stevens-Smith, Bioengineering the creator of the Engineering Summer School said:
“The 11-14 age range is a crucial time for interest in science and maths in schools, it is at this age range that girls tend to lose interest in these subjects, if the inspiration is lost the girls are much less likely to select the crucial maths and physics subject combination at A-level, which opens so many doors.”
The summer school covered all Departments within the Faculty of Engineering, highlighting the breadth of opportunities engineering offers students. Throughout the summer school students were exposed to a number of female engineering role models including current female engineering students who mentored the students all week.
The students had an intensive week of engineering from blood mechanics in bioengineering on Monday to building structures in materials and cranes in Materials and Mechanical engineering on Tuesday to soldering in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and panning for gold in Earth Science and Engineering on Wednesday.
The week concluded with a Showcase on Saturday 25 July, which was attended by the students and their friends and family. Students presented to an audience of over 80 about their experience and all attendees were enthused by Dr Suze Kundu’s lecture on Engineering Super Heroes.
Thanks to all the Engineering Departments who made the inaugural Engineering Summer School a success, particularly Dr Sujata Kundu (Materials), Dr Tom Tate, Kay Hancock (Electrical), Dr Laura Nicolaou (Mechanical), Dr Camille Petit (Chemical), Dr Catarina Aires Fernandes (Computing), Robert Lowther, Dr Elizabeth Day (Earth Science), Dr Kevin Gouder, Dr Aimee Morgans (Aeronautics), Dr Katerina Tsiampousi (Civil) and Dr Phil Power (Faculty of Engineering).
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