Photo of UG winner Hannah accepting her award, with Guy Blundell and Professor Chris Rielly

Student Hannah Langridge with Guy Blundell from Caterpillar and Professor Chris Rielly

Female engineering students celebrated at event marking 100 years of the Women’s Engineering Society

Last week, staff, students, alumni and friends of the University recently attended a celebration evening hosted by the University’s Women’s Engineering Society (WES).

The Female Engineer of the Year Awards (FEY) took place on Thursday 2 May and was a collaboration between WES and local IMechE young members committee.

This year marks 100 years since the inception of WES nationally, whose primary aim has been to support and promote women in all stages of their engineering careers.

The society launched the FEY competition earlier this year, which looked to identify two students studying at undergraduate and postgraduate level who have gone above and beyond and have the potential to become future leaders in the sector.

The qualities looked for in the winners were their achievement in academia, as well as a professional commitment and contribution to the engineering community.

Those who were interested in entering for the competition were asked to submit a 500-word answer detailing why they deserved to win the award, as well as a poster targeted at students studying at GCSE-level about an inspiring female engineer from the last 100 years.

In addition, they also needed to provide a CV and postgraduates were required to provide an abstract of their work.

The undergraduate winner was Hannah Langridge and the postgraduate winner was Nicolette Formosa.

The winners were chosen by a judging panel which included Pro Vice-Chancellor of Teaching, Professor Rachel Thomson, Professor Andy Dainty, Professor Chris Reilly, Caterpillar’s Quality Manager Melanie Nurse, Jennifer Glover (Chair of WES), and alumna Claire Hull.

As a result of winning the award, Hannah has been offered a paid summer placement in project engineering at Caterpillar. Nicolette’s prize was a 30-minute presentation about her research on the evening, which was hosted by the Leicestershire Young Members Committee IMechE.

Photo of Professor Andy Dainty with Nicolette Formosa

Image: Nicolette Formosa accepting her award

They also received trophy shields and a monetary prize at the event, which took place at the West Park Teaching Hub on campus.

Jennifer Glover, PhD student and Chair of the Women’s Engineering Society, commented: “Since becoming an active member of WES I have been bowled over by the amazing female engineering students of Loughborough and across the country.  

“After I was lucky enough to be elected chair 2018/19 I wanted to create a tradition of celebration of these students as I didn’t believe their efforts both inside and outside University were being recognised.

“I am pleased to say that as part of the judging panel my belief in how inspiring these students are was not only reaffirmed but heightened. We had some truly exceptional applicants and the winners and runners-up are exceptional role models to all engineers regardless of gender and experience.

She continued: “My hope is that the FEY awards will create a platform to recognise and reward the women in engineering at Loughborough, but also give them an opportunity to make their mark and see for themselves how fabulous they really are. Thank you to all of the applicants and congratulations to the 2019 Loughborough University Female Engineers of the Year winners and runners up.”

Nicolette commented: “I am absolutely elated to have been honoured by this award. Achieving your best is not always easy, but it's rewarding in the long run.

“It means so much to me that women now more than ever are being promoted for stem subjects and recognised for their achievements.”

photo of Nicolette doing 30 minute presentation as part of the evening

Image: Nicolette presenting her research at the event

Hannah added: “I was delighted to hear that I had won Female Engineer of the Year. It is an exceptional award to receive and I am grateful for the recognition of all the dedication that I have given this field. I am proud to be a part of the Women's Engineering Society and hope these awards will inspire more women to join and enjoy engineering and the sciences."

The University’s Women’s Engineering Society is supported by both the Engineering Departments at Loughborough and Caterpillar.

Caterpillar have financially supported Loughborough’s WES since 2016. This provides members of the group with networking opportunities, site visits, an enhanced student experience as well as attendance to sector conferences. Last year, it also helped to provide resources for societies which volunteer in local primary and secondary schools.

This is part of a wider relationship between Caterpillar and the University which has seen over £340,000 in philanthropic support over the last 20 years and the development of the Caterpillar Innovation Research Centre.