International Women in Engineering Day

23 June 2023

International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) is celebrated every year on June 23, to raise awareness about the incredible achievements of women in engineering and inspire the next generation of female engineers. This day is dedicated to showcasing the contributions of women working in the engineering field and promoting opportunities for the underrepresented gender in this field.

Hear from our students and alumnae

Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day is not just about recognising past achievements, but also about inspiring future contributions. Young girls need role models they can look up to and learn from, and INWED provides the perfect platform to showcase some of the talented women working in the field. This year's theme is #MAKESAFETYSEEN.

Read below some of our inspiring female engineer role models at Loughborough.

Neel | PhD student in Chemical Engineering

female researcher at work in lab

My Research focuses on developing sustainable reaction protocols, reducing waste, and promoting eco-friendly drug crystalization and purification practices. By developing facile and green crystallisation protocols, I can contribute to tailoring drug delivery systems, including developing new crystal forms, nanoparticles, or controlled-release formulations that improve drug absorption, efficacy, and patient experience. By developing accessible protocols, my research aims to streamline the production of APIs, making it easier for pharmaceutical manufacturers to adopt these methods.

These novel sustainable crystallisation protocols can minimise the environmental impact of pharmaceutical manufacturing. Sustainable protocols focus on optimising resource usage, reducing energy consumption, replacing toxic compounds, increasing process safety and minimising waste generation. This aligns with the "Make Safety Seen" theme, as sustainability is interconnected with safety and the well-being of the environment and individuals.

By linking my work to the theme of "Make Safety Seen," I strive to contribute to a pharmaceutical industry that prioritises safety, sustainability, and the well-being of individuals and the planet.

Ashley | PhD student in Aeronautical Engineering

female giving talk and presentation

I am researching ways to reduce the impact of the aviation industry on the environment by looking into alternative fuels that produce less, or even better, no carbon. One alternative is hydrogen as when hydrogen burns it only emits water, however, as an extremely flammable gas, we need to make sure we work with it with safety at the forefront of our minds.

I am looking into predicting the combustion of hydrogen with Computational Fluid Dynamics, which simply put, is recreating the flames on a computer. The use of computational modelling is vital to the design process, allowing for a better understanding of the behaviour of components before a physical test takes place. The work has the potential to be used in future to look at improving the design process of the fuel injectors within the combustor and will ensure that future combustors are able to be designed and tested safely.

Claudia | Civil Engineering BEng student

female smiling outside

Women play such an integral part in developing the research and knowledge behind engineering. I take great pride in following in the footsteps of some of the greatest female engineers who fought for me to have this opportunity. Engineering is still a male-dominated profession - you can still see that in my year’s cohort. There are still so many girls who feel that they are not equal to their male counterparts.

I think there is a lack of natural confidence in most girls that leads them to believe they are not good enough or academic enough to be here but we are, and with the right guidance and role models (like Claudia Parsons) we can change the industry for good. If it were not for women like her, who had the confidence in their own ability to pursue their right to have an interest in such a male-dominated area, we would not be where we are today. I owe her a great deal.

To inspire young girls to the engineering profession, they need to be able to see themselves there and to do that we always need more female engineer role models, if not for now, then for the future.

Huyen | PhD student in Materials Engineering

headshot of female student in lab and glasses

With my team, I am focusing on enhancing society and the planet’s health by developing novel environmentally friendly antibacterial surface coatings. Ultimately, the overarching goal of my research is to reduce the reliance on antibiotics by proactively addressing the root causes of bacterial infections.

Your body is challenged every day by viruses, bacteria, and other stimuli. By assessing the impact of surfaces where these infections are found, we can create a viable solution for making hospitals safer environments, thereby preventing bacterial infections in healthcare settings. By implementing improved antibacterial coatings in hospitals based on the scientific insights gained from my work, we can significantly mitigate the occurrence of healthcare-associated infections and the subsequent development of antimicrobial resistance.

Watching paint dry is an unconventional methodology which allows me to develop a comprehensive understanding of the efficacy and functionality of next-generation antibacterial surfaces. Every day I dive deep into data analysis, conduct experiments, and engage in critical thinking to advance our understanding of materials engineering and its impact on the global antibiotic resistance crisis.


Ellis Chappell | Electronic and Electrical Engineering MEng

image of female working in electronics lab

While at Loughborough, I spent my first year as part of AU Dance and AU Cheerleading. I have danced since the age of three and it was very crucial to me that I was able to keep it up alongside my studies. I have always had a part-time job working in retail and customer service. I try to fit in volunteering for RAG and attending talks such as ‘How do we solve a problem like the lack of Women in Engineering?’ which was put on by IMechE and WES; Future Female Engineer events by TargetJobs and site visits. I received the IET’s Horizon Bursary in my second year sponsored by Cundall and was able to attend the ceremony, where I got to listen to a speech from the Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award 2018.

Isobel | Architecture BArch student

female student smiling in white jumper

I recognised the name Claudia Parsons as an influential female engineer because of school as we were always encouraged to research inspirational females. I learnt much more about her when I arrived at Loughborough and now live in the student accommodation that's named after her! Being at Loughborough during the centenary anniversary of the first women (including Claudia) enrolled as engineering students here is inspirational. I think it is essential to highlight how the industry dynamics are constantly changing for the better and how many women are now admired for their commitment to these degrees. I think more women are needed in the industry, but I do understand why women are reluctant. I think there are certain stereotypes that discourage women from diving into the industry, which is a shame. I think women need to have more self-belief and ignore stereotypes, I know I did!

I was lucky enough to go to an all-girls school, which has shaped my ambitions today as a woman. We were always encouraged to take STEM subjects. For example, I took Physics A level and although it was challenging, it has proved to be invaluable both in my studies then and my wider life now. Women should be encouraged to take a step into engineering because STEM subjects can open so many doors.

Kate | Product Design Engineering MEng graduate

kate walker smiling with screen next to her

Whilst studying at Loughborough I had the chance to spend a year out on placement, working for an engineering design consultancy. This was something I hadn’t fully considered doing until my second year at Loughborough, but I was able to add this into my degree really easily, even though I hadn’t initially applied to do a sandwich course. After returning from placement, I got to choose my dissertation project and decided I wanted to design an adjustable 3D-printed prosthetic arm for children, after meeting a little girl that needed a prosthesis. During the project, I looked into the logistics and feasibility of producing and selling my prosthesis and after some encouragement from my department, I decided to turn my idea into a business. 

During my final year at university, I was heavily involved in the Loughborough Enterprise Network which really supported me with my idea and taught me a lot about business and entrepreneurship. Through this, I was able to take part in a variety of competitions and courses which gave me some great industry contacts as well as funding towards my business. Since graduating, I now have my business full-time and have been provided office space by the university in the Graduate Enterprise Studio.