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Department of Engineering

Kate Lucas – Vice-Chancellor’s Social Impact Award winner

Kate Lucas – Vice-Chancellor’s Social Impact Award winner

Student Kate Lucas is presented with the Volunteering Award by University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Prentice

Third-year Manufacturing Engineering Tripos (MET) student Kate Lucas has been announced as a winner of the Vice-Chancellor’s Social Impact Awards 2024.

Kate Lucas is presented with the Volunteering Award for her 'dedication to increasing diversity in engineering'.

Kate, the outgoing Co-President of Cambridge University Robotics (CUR) student society, was presented with the Volunteering Award recently at a ceremony organised by Cambridge Hub and sponsored by the Vice-Chancellor’s Office.

University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Prentice hosted the ceremony, which saw 15 students recognised with awards.

The Awards recognise and celebrate exceptional achievement in contributing to society. Kate (Homerton College) was honoured for her “dedication to increasing diversity in engineering”.

In addition to her role in CUR and organisation of Unibots UK 2023 and 2024 (an inter-university competition for undergraduates that is hosted annually by CUR in the Department of Engineering), Kate mentors Year 13 students through platforms such as Zero Gravity. She is also an active ambassador for Homerton Changemakers.

“I think one of the activities that led to this award was the after-school sessions I ran in collaboration with Cambridge Science Centre with a group of seven-to-11-year-old pupils,” said Kate, who studies at the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), part of the Department of Engineering. “Along with Henry Wall (a third-year engineering student from Jesus College), we designed and delivered activities to teach kids about robotics.”

Kate added: “My big aim for the Unibots UK 2024 event, run in collaboration with students from Heriot-Watt University, was to create a community of people interested in robotics, particularly those from universities that may not have access to the same level of facilities that we do here in Cambridge e.g. the Dyson Centre for Engineering Design. It was the biggest event of its kind, with more than 100 students attending from England, Scotland and Wales.

“I have been involved with mentoring students through a variety of different channels but I would like to highlight the Apply: Cambridge scheme, where you work with six Year 13 students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and Zero Gravity, which is an online mentoring platform also aimed at disadvantaged students.”

What have you gained, experience-wise, from being Co-President of the CUR student society?

“So many things! It is difficult to list them all, but certainly time management skills. I have also had the opportunity to meet a great range of people, from new society members and staff in the Department to people from outside of the University.

“I think people underestimate the range of activities that you can be involved in as a society president. I have done everything from pitching to sponsors for funding and carrying out laser cutting of trophies to navigating the Department's room booking system and even attending awards ceremonies on behalf of the Society.

“I have also been very lucky to have a great team of people to work with (Tian Ern, Henry, Lewis and Caio) and wish next year's CUR committee the best of luck.”

Adapted from a University of Cambridge news article.

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