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Students praise 'inspirational' Women's Engineering Society (WES) Annual Conference.

WES is the largest UK conference for female engineering students.

The department funded several members of the Fleming Society, our student run society for UCL EEE students, to attend the Women’s Engineering Society Annual Conference 2018 which ran from 23-24 November 2018 at the University of Warwick. The theme of the Conference was ‘Building Sustainable Cities and Communities’ and included an excellent range of presenters, with diverse specialisms and areas of interest, who share a common passion in engineering and technology.

WES is the largest UK conference for female engineering students. WES started life after World War I in 1919 when the pioneering women who worked in engineering and technical roles during the war campaigned to retain these roles when the war ended. Now, nearly a century later, they support and inspire women to achieve as engineers, as scientists and as leaders; they encourage the education of engineering; and they support companies with gender diversity and inclusion.

The latest figures show that women make up around just 8% of engineers in the UK and only 58% of women studying engineering will become engineers. WES aims to increase these figures by showing women why engineering is a career path worth considering and by inspiring you as students to pursue a career in engineering.

Anna Turitsyna, a student from the department and treasurer of UCL Student Society of Women Engineers, which is supported by the Faculty of Engineering(http://www.engineering.ucl.ac.uk/women-engineers/) said:

“I would like to personally thank [the department] on behalf of the UCL Women Engineering Society for giving us the opportunity to travel to the Annual WES Conference that took place at Warwick University this past weekend. The event was a huge success and we received lots of positive feedback from the students who came back from the conference feeling more inspired and focused than ever before. The organisation of the event was impeccable – we had the opportunity to network with fellow peers as well as attend a wide range of talks. The talks were made by industry experts from TFL, Arup, Mott Macdonald and Bosch to name but a few. Not only were the talks interesting, but the workshops held also inspired many of us to focus in on what we want to achieve from our future careers. Having the opportunity to talk so openly about ethics in the workplace or our own values with fellow female engineers is not something that many of us have the chance to do often in our degrees. Many of our students expressed how useful the conference was and that they would be extremely interested in attending next year too, as well as 2020 when the International WES Conference will be held in the UK.”

Rallia Velliou from Mechanical Engineering and the UCL Student Society of Women Engineers, who also attended said:

“Overall the conference was a huge success and all members of the committee were very happy to represent UCL in such an event. We managed to contact members of the WES board (inclining the CEO) and set the ground for our UCL society  to enter the WES mentoring scheme, which supports women working in STEM by providing independent mentors to any interested mentee. It was amazing to meet so many women in engineering form a variety of backgrounds coming together to talk about building sustainable cities and communities.  As a researcher in the field of biomedical engineering, I am not often given the opportunity to interact with people from the industry and this was definitely a positive experience. The invited speakers shared their inspiring stories and opened conversations related  to the issues women engineers deal with in the workplace and more importantly, encouraged all young students to stand out and try their best to become great engineers. Given that the UK has the lowest percentage of female engineers of all countries in Europe, the message we all took away from the conference was to forget the stereotypes of women engineers, speak up and stand out.”

 

"UCL students attending the WES Annual Conference – from left to right, Anna Turitsyna (EEE), Cristiana Moraru (EEE) and Rallia Velliou (MechEng).”