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Four students standing behind their soapbox - a blue peacock with wheels.

Students use participation in RedBull’s Soapbox Race to celebrate women in engineering

Four students from the University recently took part in RedBull’s Soapbox Race at Alexandra Palace in London.

Georgia Collis, Hannah Eastlake, Mary Owen and Shae Wallis have all just finished their second year of Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering at Loughborough and formed a team for the race.  

‘The 11%’ – a designated team name decided by the girls to represent the percentage of women on their engineering course – spent two nights designing and four days building the soapbox, dubbing itWinging It’ as a result of the quick turnaround time to produce it 

The students were required to showcase their engineering knowledge and creativity skills, in addition to strong communication skills with not just one another, but also to external companies and individuals to help raise funds for their soapbox.  

Redbull soapboxes are judged on their performance, race time and creativity and on the day of the competition, the team finished in second place out of the student teams who took part and 52nd place overall.  

The 11% said: “We decided to enter as it seemed a fun and exciting way to display our engineering skills and show off just how much female engineers can accomplish. There is still a massive disparity in the proportion of girls doing engineering and yet we often find it is the most diverse groups that succeed. Through this national platform we hoped to highlight the achievements and successes of women in our discipline alongside inspiring the next generation to take up similar paths. 

As a team, we were very proud of what we created and what we achieved in promoting our project to prospective engineers across the country.” 

To help the team construct the soapbox, they received support from The Loughborough Fund – a collection of charitable donations made by alumni and friends of the University that is used to support students as well as research, sport and enterprise initiatives on campus.  

The Loughborough Fund provided The 11% with a grant of £250 to enable them to represent female students in engineering at a high-profile event and whilst supporting them to gain relevant experience outside of their degree.