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Laura, Lauren, Charu and Heather at the screening of their videos in the IMAX theatre


29 June 2017

Four inspiring women from BWB have taken part in an activity day to show eighty Birmingham schoolgirls that engineering is not just for boys.

Laura Westoby, Lauren Padmore, Charu Gupta and Heather Griffiths were industry mentors at last week’s Women in Engineering and Built Environment Day, which was attended by Year 8 students from ten local schools. The event at Millennium Point was organised by Birmingham City University to highlight the exciting range of career opportunities for girls in engineering.

The day kicked off in the venue’s huge IMAX theatre with the audience of 12 and 13 year olds watching speeches and videos from women currently working in the industry. Videos of Laura, Charu and Lauren, in which they explained why they love their respective roles as a Geo-Environmental Consultant, Building Physics Consultant and Land Surveyor, were played on the giant cinema screen.

Later in the day all three, along with Environmental Consultant Heather, were tasked with mentoring a group of five students for the “Just A Drop” challenge. The competition saw 18 teams design and build a hand washing device that could be used in a Kenyan village and then deliver a presentation to the judges that demonstrated it in action. The role of the mentor was to encourage and guide the students, discuss their ideas and assist with the construction of the prototype.

After each team gave their presentations, the judges deliberated and it was announced that the Lordswood Girls’ School team led by Laura was the overall winner for their creation named “The Water Recycler”. The judges were impressed by unusual design features such as the use of liquid soap and a sealed water unit to prevent evaporation along with their engaging presentation which included a song. The winning team were presented with a trophy and will receive prizes of vouchers and goody bags.

Laura said “The girls in my team were really enthusiastic and had some fantastic ideas so I was thrilled when they won. The day was a brilliant opportunity to open their eyes to the different careers within engineering although seeing my face on the gigantic IMAX screen was terrifying!”

The event was co-ordinated by Laura Leyland, a Senior Lecturer at Birmingham City University, who thanked the industry mentors for their input. She said: “Thank you so much for your support of our event on Friday – what a fantastic day. Your hard work with the visiting students really paid off.  The feedback is amazing and the teachers were reporting that they had never seen their students so engaged. Thank you again.”