Loughborough researcher wins engineering X Factor
Dr Alex Lyness, an Enterprise Fellow from Loughborough University, has been voted a winner in the national ‘I’m an Engineer, get me out of here!’ competition.
‘I’m an Engineer…’ and its sister event ‘I’m a Scientist…’ are national competitions which allow school students from around the UK to engage with engineers and scientists. They are free, online X Factor-style contests, where the students are the judges. The students challenge the engineers and scientists through fast-paced live online chats and then vote for their favourites.
The ‘I’m an Engineer…’ competition is split into four zones – Apprentice, Cities, Food and Health. Alex, who works in the University’s Centre for Biological Engineering, was voted winner of the Health Zone.
“I’m an Engineer…’ allows curious school students to ask all different types of engineers about their work, career, and how and why they became engineers in the first place,” explains Alex. “It was a frenetic two-week event, which included daily live chats lasting 30 minutes, when we had whole classes of students asking us questions. They could also post questions offline on a noticeboard at any time.
“The questions were on absolutely anything. I really enjoyed dispelling myths about how clever you need to be to be an engineer, and sharing my journey of how I went from playing with Lego to designing medical devices that deliver stem cells. My two favourite questions were the beautifully blunt ‘If you’re so clever, how come you only did 3 A levels?’ and the ambitious ‘What would you do with £1bn?’”
As a winner Alex received a cheque for £500 to spend on an engineering outreach event of his own design and an ‘I’m an Engineer…’ mug.
“I really enjoyed “I’m an Engineer…’,” Alex said. “I would urge anybody to try it or ‘I’m a Scientist…’ to help engage and inspire more children into careers in science and engineering.
“Since the event finished I have signed up to be a STEMnet Ambassador – a scheme which aims to encourage children to enjoy science, technology, engineering and mathematics. I’m also looking forward to planning my own engineering outreach event, with the prize money from the competition!”
Further information about ‘I’m an Engineer, get me out of here’ is available at imanengineer.org.uk/
Notes for editors
Press release reference number: PR 14/135
Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.
It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year title in 2008-09 and has been named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.
In 2015 the University will open an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University in London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will offer postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.