Imperial College London

A conversation with Rosalind Aves, winner of Female Undergraduate of the Year


Rosalind collecting her award at the final in Canary Wharf.

Rosalind was one of nine successful undergraduates out of thousands to take home an Undergraduate of the Year title.

Making it to the final

Rosalind, a third-year Aeronautical Engineering undergraduate, heard about the award at an event for female engineers and managed to send off her application amid January exams.

After the initial written application, she advanced on to two assessment centres, where she met the other finalists and some of the team at Rolls-Royce, who sponsored the award.

A highlight of the qualifiers was giving a presentation on diversity and inclusion in engineering and STEM, of which she says, "It was really interesting to investigate that a bit further and reflect on my own experiences."

Of learning she made it to the final, Rosalind says, "I was kind of in awe – all the finalists had such interesting stories, so I felt amazed even to be selected." Winning was even more surreal: "I was literally in shock as I approached the stage!"

Rosalind’s win has secured her a ten-week internship in Bristol with Rolls-Royce, and a ‘day in the life of a female manager’ shadowing experience. She adds, "I’m going to be in the defence sector, which is exciting. It’s really geared towards my interests and degree."

What it takes

So what qualities are they looking for in an Undergraduate of the Year? "Extracurriculars are quite important; what you do in your spare time, what makes you a well-rounded individual."

Rosalind is a keen hiker and  one of the Deputy Presidents of Imperial’s Fellwanderers hiking society.

"I was able to demonstrate independence and confidence through hiking. Also, time management – fitting it around exams can be hard but I suppose that’s something they were looking for while judging the awards."

Sometimes Rosalind even takes a night bus to Scotland to hike for the weekend and returns in time for a lecture on Monday morning. She highlights, "Sleeping on a bus is one day less to pay for accommodation." That’s dedication!

Outreach and representation

Speaking on the importance of representation in engineering, Rosalind says, "I came from a school where a lot of girls were encouraged to take science and maths, which I knew might not be reflected at Imperial. There is a minority of girls in STEM, especially in aeronautical engineering. You sort of learn to build up a resilience.

For me, it was so important to have mentors who pushed me to look at resources beyond what we learnt in the classroom. I have taken part in outreach schemes, speaking to students about engineering and the options they can pursue for their degree and careers. I’ve ended up where I am today because I had that support myself, so it feels quite full circle."

Congratulations again to Rosalind on this fantastic achievement. You can learn more about the Undergraduate of the Year Awards at this page.


Eilis Lysaght

Eilis Lysaght
Careers Service