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Inspiring future engineers on International Women in Engineering Day

Inspiring future engineers on International Women in Engineering Day

Dr Christelle Abadie, Lecturer in Civil Engineering, helps pupils build an origami arch.

As part of International Women in Engineering Day 2019, the Department hosted a special event for 30 girls from Cambridgeshire state schools and encouraged them to build an origami arch.

I wished that every pupil had the opportunity to learn and do something they are passionate about after leaving school. I am passionate about what I do, and I was delighted to be able to share with the girls how rewarding and exciting engineering can be.

Dr Christelle Abadie

Dr Christelle Abadie, Lecturer in Civil Engineering, led a workshop on an introduction to origami engineering, with help from Dr Megan Davies Wykes, Liz Acton Lecturer in Engineering, PhD students Alessandra Luna Navarro and Sakthy Selvakumaran, and Outreach Officer Maria Kettle.

Following the workshop, the Year 8 and 9 pupils were challenged to each build sections of a 1.8 metre-long origami arch, a structure that can also be used as an emergency shelter. The hands-on activity took place in the Department’s Dyson Centre for Engineering Design – a space primarily for undergraduates to learn, create and innovate.

The Department also hosted a networking lunch, introduced by the Head of the Department Professor Richard Prager, that included two poster displays: one of inspirational female engineers nominated by students and staff, and another showcasing women’s engineering-related research in the Department. In his welcome speech, Professor Prager said: “I hope that you will see how rewarding, satisfying and worthwhile it is to be an engineer. And, if you follow engineering as a career, I hope that you will inspire others to follow in your footsteps.” 

A tour of Queens’ College followed, where a high tea was served and aspects of civil engineering were discussed. PhD student Sakthy Selvakumaran gave an inspiring talk on her research which involves monitoring bridges from space using satellites.

Dr Abadie said: “I wished that every pupil had the opportunity to learn and do something they are passionate about after leaving school. I am passionate about what I do, and I was delighted to be able to share with the girls how rewarding and exciting engineering can be.”

One of the pupil's said: “This is the first time I’ve properly considered engineering as an option.”

International Women in Engineering Day is a global awareness campaign, coordinated by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), and this year (June 23) participants were encouraged to show the world how they are ‘transforming the future’ in pursuit of more diversity in engineering.

Inspiring future engineers

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