Category Archives: Winner Reports

What Stacey Marple did with her prize money

Stacey was voted the winner of the Smart Materials Zone in June 2017. Here she writes about using the £500 prize money to

If you’re an engineer who’d like funding to support your own STEM outreach activities, apply now for I’m an Engineer, Get me out of here at imanengineer.org.uk/engineers


I knew I wanted to spend the prize winnings on encouraging students to study and work in STEM fields through engagement, inspiration and developing their STEM skills.  Tall order with £500! So I teamed up with Tech for Life Newcastle to organise an event which would include practical workshops and a panel session.  Most importantly it needed to be led by people working in STEM. I believe it’s really important for the students and parents to meet and talk to real life scientists and engineers. So we set about organising the event, approaching our joint networks to get support and resources.

We decided the event should be held on Ada Lovelace day, 10 Oct 2017. Ada Lovelace was a gifted mathematician who is now widely recognised as the first computer programmer. She was our inspiration for the event and as the first computer programmer and a woman, we decided to develop coding skills of young girls.

We invited girls from local primary schools to come along to Campus North, where we hosted the event. We were very honoured that Kate Russell, tech journalist, gave the video intro and then we introduced the students to programming concepts using Scratch and an Ada sprite, the challenge was to generate a poem using random words.  You can have a go here: https://codeclubprojects.org/en-GB/scratch/poetry-generator/.  Then we showed the students how to build and code a digital watch using a BBC Microbit.

The students had great fun and it was amazing how involved they got with the challenges. The students got to keep the BBC microbits for future projects. Importantly they had the chance to work with and ask questions of people working in STEM.  The funding also allowed me to buy additional BBC microbits which are being used to run workshops at school STEM outreach events.

To further cover engagement and inspiration, in the evening we hosted a panel session sponsored by Hedgehog Lab with 4 fabulous leading ladies telling an audience of over 60 people about the challenges, rewards and excitement of working in STEM.  A wonderful inspirational evening was had by all.

Since taking part in I’m an Engineer and running the Ada Lovelace event, I have been involved in Tech for Life Leading Ladies programme, I have been mentoring Women in Engineering I wrote an article for The Engineer magazine, and attending outreach events around Newcastle. Taking part in I’m an Engineer has given me confidence to take part in outreach programmes. I have been awarded a place in the Top 50 Women in Engineering for 2018 recognising influential women in engineering.

I would like to thank I’m an Engineer, Tech for Life, Campus North, the schools which attended Ada Lovelace Day, Accenture, Hedgehog Lab, Kate Russell, Women’s Engineering Society and the volunteers for their support and helping to inspire the next generation.

Posted on September 27, 2018 modjen in RAEngWinner, Winner Reports | Leave a comment

What Emma Ryan did with her prize money

Emma was voted the winner of the Ampere Zone in March 2017. Here she writes about using the £500 prize money to run materials workshops in schools, involving Lego!

If you’re an engineer who’d like funding to support your own STEM outreach activities, apply now for I’m an Engineer, Get me out of here at imanengineer.org.uk/engineers


The prize money has allowed me to develop a Materials Workshop for local schools in the area. The workshop is now part of the outreach activities at Lockheed Martin UK and the outreach team will continue to use it. I hope that we can help more students realise that scientists and engineers are normal people.

I bought all the Lego with the prize money from I’m an Engineer! Well, that and a few other things. Here is me posing with some of the resources for the Materials Workshop I developed for local schools in the area. The workshop consists of three sections: learning about materials and carrying out materials testing, the Egg Challenge and learning about additive manufacturing and using a 3D printer.

Students learn about different material properties through a presentation and test the properties of different materials, such as hardness, strength and magnetism. For the Egg Challenge, students have to work in teams to create a structure to protect an egg being dropped from a second story window. They have to work to a budget, buy supplies from a shop and quality check them, and create a poster to explain their design.

The purpose is to learn important skills that engineers used such as communication and problem solving. The students also have to make additive manufacturing Top Trumps cards with information that they have found through research, asking questions and using the 3D printer and Lego to mimic a 3D printer. I was hoping to get the Top Trumps card produced into a pack for each class but I, as I think most people are, was a little too ambitious with the prize money!

My colleagues from my sponsor company, Lockheed Martin UK, and I have been to four schools so far to give the workshop. The feedback has been fantastic – from both students and teachers. I received 30 lovely letters from a Year 6 class following a workshop. Apparently, we managed to teach them that scientists are normal people too!

One teacher thanked us for “devoting your time, enthusiasm and hard work to make our Materials STEM day such a fantastic experience for both the children and staff. The children learnt a great deal and many of them have already begun carrying out their own further research into materials in order to find out more!”

Lockheed Martin UK have been very supportive too as the company is a big advocate of outreach and has kindly supported me by matching my funds to purchase the 3D printer below to take into schools.

Posted on August 8, 2018 modjen in RAEngWinner, Winner Reports | Leave a comment

What Ana Gallego did with her prize money

Ana was voted the winner of the Artificial Body Zone in March 2017. Here she writes about using her £500 prize money to create a website about the commonalities between engineering and baking.

If you’re an engineer who’d like funding to support your own STEM outreach activities, apply now for I’m an Engineer, Get me out of here at imanengineer.org.uk/engineers


The money has been spent in the majority to develop a website (https://www.engineerabake.com/) to upload content related to baking and engineering. My background is materials engineering, and I have always found a big connection between the properties of materials and the foods one can bake at home.

I thought that by having a website, I would be able to reach a lot more students and it would be used as a reference tool to use with students and potentially even use them as little workshops or experiments in the future. I purchased a tripod, some reflectors and a mini photo studio to take professional photos for each post. The physical items were around £60 in total, the rest was to cover the website costs (domain name and hosting via Squarespace for two years).

The website and The Engineer Magazine Collaborate to Innovate Awards I attended with the I’m an Engineer team last year also helped me to build a great relationship with Merton Park Primary School, as the fabulous teachers that attended were the absolute best teachers I have met.

We organised two sessions with two groups, where I talked about my job and my career and a lot about materials and baking. Nicola and Debs have even posted a link to my mango leather on their STEM school website.

In terms of personal experience, I’m an Engineer helped me develop my communication skills. It is important to think about how to engage young students and make them understand what job you do and why do you enjoy doing it, and to be able to find an exciting explanation that anyone can understand is definitely challenging, as we are normally surrounded by very technical people.

When it comes to how to improve my STEM outreach, IAE also opened my eyes to get a better perspective of what students of different ages are interested in, their fears and their challenges. I am now much more capable of engaging with students of different ages, and able to tailor my delivery better.

I was very glad to see how simple technologies such as a chat or a forum, allow students to ask ANY question that crosses their mind without feeling scared to ask them: At what time do you wake up? What do you hate most about your job? These are important questions (that even adults should ask themselves but we are too afraid to ask them) and they give students realistic information about how much they will enjoy their chosen jobs in the future.

Posted on July 25, 2018 modjen in Winner Reports, WTWinner | Leave a comment

What Stuart Inglis did with his prize money…

Stuart was voted the winner of Robotics Zone in March 2016. Here he reports on how he used his £500 prize to make his own STEM outreach project happen.

If you’re an engineer who’d like funding to support your own STEM outreach activities, apply now for I’m an Engineer, Get me out of here at imanengineer.org.uk/engineers


After a rather slow start my miniROV kits have had their first shakedown run at the hands of the next generation of budding engineers! I used the winnings from the Robotics zone of I’m an Engineer 2016 to buy components for building underwater robots or Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). The kits were based on an existing design from Robert Gordon’s University (RGU) which was adapted to make them reusable, so that the money went further and could be used with more pupils.

The finished miniROV

Once all the individual components were bought it was time to dust off the old soldering iron and make up the remote controller circuit board. This was a shock to the system for a mechanical engineer, so I enlisted the help of my electrically inclined dad! Between us we managed to get everything assembled in time for a visit to my old primary school, Ashley Road in Aberdeen, who were running an engineering week at the start of November.

Pupils get stuck in to the build

I spent a day in school, running a miniROV workshop for four P6 and P7 classes. We discussed why we used robots in various scenarios before the pupils split into teams to build their own ROVs. K’NEX was used for the frame then the motors were installed and wired in to the remote controller. Two film canister buoyancy tanks were added to the top of the ROV before it was ready for a trial run in the tank. Everyone got a shot at being an ROV pilot and we discussed the forces acting on the ROV such as weight, buoyancy, thrust and drag.

Test tank time for the budding ROV pilots!

A great time was had by all, including the pupils, teachers and myself. It was fantastic to see the pupils get so involved in the task, and great to see how their minds work with some fantastic questions. I’m already looking in to other opportunities to use the kits with other groups through the STEM ambassador network, and a colleague has asked if he could borrow them to use at his children’s school so the kits will keep on giving!

The pupils show off their miniROVs

A big thank you to Ashley Road for having me back and my company i-Tech Services for releasing me for the day. Thanks must also go to Graeme Dunbar at RGU for the use of his kit design, my dad for lending a steady hand soldering and I’m an Engineer for making it all possible!

The miniROV kits in numbers:

  • 15 kits produced (with spares)
  • 68 manhours designing and building the kits (ish)
  • 720 joints soldered
  • 2 circuits board knackered by dodgy soldering
  • 1 day in at school (so far)
  • 106 pupils now trainee ROV engineers
Posted on November 22, 2017 modantony in RAEngWinner, Winner Reports | Leave a comment

What Michael Sulu did with his prize money

Mike was voted the winner of Production Zone in November 2015. Here he reports back on the outreach activities he was able to do thanks to his £500 prize money.

If you’re an engineer who’d like funding to support your own STEM outreach activities, apply now for I’m an Engineer, Get me out of here at imanengineer.org.uk/engineers


I had grand plans for the prize money, I think everyone does! But I wasn’t expecting the year to pan out how it did! My first thought was to create a low-cost bioreactor to use as a tool to explain biochemical engineering, but it turns out that ‘low cost’ is a relative term and £500 wouldn’t stretch far enough to allow me to make more than 1! And to make more schools would need some specialist equipment, such as a 3D printer. So I moved the goal posts.

Materials I developed for my Golem workshop

Next idea, was to take part in a festival with a known schools outreach program and as such I partnered with Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr and the Shuffle Festival to create a workshop on cell growth interwoven with the story of a Golem, which is an anthropomorphic shape that is animated to life (think Frankenstein’s monster made from clay) from folklore. Unfortunately two things happened:

  1. I spent all of the budget and more on materials for the workshop
  2. The workshop got cancelled because the festival lost a lot of extra funding and had to shorten its programme.

We did stil engage with the general public at the festival (see the video above) and got some people from local schools to help with its creation but it was not as far reaching as I had hoped.

I was not disheartened! I was able to use the money (with help from my university, UCL) for another engineering festival, SMASHfestUK! I designed and built elements for a ‘survival village’ that happened in South East London this February.

Me helping out at SMASHfestUK | Image: Wyn Griffiths

I’m now keen to go back to my first idea of the bioreactor, and I’m also working with some PhD students in my department to make an educational tool for schools, which revolves around a board game to explain vaccine research, development and manufacturing.

Posted on August 2, 2017 modantony in IETWinner, Winner Reports | Leave a comment

What Mohamed Salaheldin did with his prize money…

Mohamed won the Communications Zone in 2015. He donated his prize money to Code Club, read on for how the organisation used the £500.

If you’re an engineer who’d like funding to support your own STEM outreach activities, apply now for I’m an Engineer, Get me out of here at imanengineer.org.uk/engineers

“At Code Club, we think all children should have the opportunity to learn to code, no matter who they are or where they come from. To do this, we support a nationwide network of volunteers and educators who run free coding clubs for children aged 9-11 to build and share their ideas, learning along the way.

Mohamed’s donation of £500 enabled 7 children to have a full year of Code Club sessions (39 club sessions) in 2015. The cost of running a club is split into volunteer recruitment, vetting and training, creation of project resources and ongoing support of volunteers and schools.

Mohamed said “It was my pleasure to choose Code Club. I truly believe that this experience is very beneficial to the children, in fact it’s really important for them to learn about computational thinking and problem solving techniques. This will be of great added value, even if they don’t realize it now!”

We currently have over 8,000 clubs in over 80 countries, and our club projects have been translated in 15 languages.

Our projects are easy to follow step-by-step guides which help children learn Scratch, HTML & CSS and Python by making games, animations, and websites. The projects gradually introduce coding concepts to allow children to build their knowledge incrementally, meaning there’s also no need for the adult running the session to be a computing expert.

Code Club was founded in 2012, and in 2015 joined forces with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a registered UK charity. Code Club is a key educational programme for the Foundation, working to help many more young people learn how to build their ideas with code.”

Posted on May 3, 2017 modantony in IETWinner, Winner Reports | Leave a comment

What Lizzie Kapasa did with her prize money…

Lizzie won the Artificial Body Zone in June 2015. Since then she has used the £500 prize money to expand her childrens’ engineering book project, ‘Suzie and Ricky’. Here she tells us more.

If you’re an engineer who’d like funding to support your own STEM outreach activities, apply now for I’m an Engineer, Get me out of here at imanengineer.org.uk/engineers


I could not have dreamed how far my project has come since winning I’m an Engineer in 2015. To everyone involved, I cannot thank all of you enough. Thanks to all of you, I was able to donate the £500 to support this incredible children’s book project, ‘Suzie & Ricky: The Crash Landing’. The overall aim of the children’s book is to inspire primary school children to want to be engineers at a young age.

A few days after my win, it was National Women in Engineering Day where we held an event in Sheffield Winter Gardens to launch the book together with fun engineering-related activities. Last October, I was interviewed by ITN productions for the IET programme ‘Engineering Our World’ where we took the book into a local school to read and do related activities.

This book has become the heart of the University of Sheffield’s ‘Engineering Is’ campaign in order to tackle the shortage of UK engineers. This campaign was launched by us at the Houses of Parliament in early November. It was so exciting to present in the House of Commons to MPs, executive members of engineering companies and others about how we developed ‘Suzie & Ricky’ and demonstrate the support we have received from all of you!

Lizzie Kapasa 3

Presenting Engineering Is at the Houses of Parliament

The I’m an Engineer prize money, along with additional funding, is being used to develop a website (including a cartoon and game), a virtual reality game and hopefully an app (see the website!). Furthermore, the money has made it possible to publish additional books to expand this project nationally across the UK, and it will be soon released as an eBook that will be available from the website and Amazon.

Some of you asked whether we would distribute the book internationally which at the time I thought was an amazing ambition for the project. But I am happy to report that there has also been lots of enthusiasm shown to begin sharing this book internationally to other English-speaking countries first, before translating the book into other languages including Spanish, Italian and Chinese. Moreover, we are planning to start working on a sequel to start a ‘Suzie & Ricky’ series.

Me talking about Suzie and Ricky

Me talking about Suzie and Ricky with any member of the public who’ll stop to listen!

It has been a genuine joy bringing the book to kids whether through a stand, in schools, or I’m an Engineer. They ask the greatest, funniest and most curious questions about what I do, I simply love it! I remember one group of children in particular. They were asking questions about what I do, to which I explained that I am a bioengineer and I’m working on a PhD project to grow bones. The jaw of this one boy literally dropped like a cartoon and he paused for a moment before putting his hands on his head over his eyes and exclaiming “You’re like…breaking the laws of physics!”

Public engagement is a great way to get out of the workplace and remember why we do the work we do, and reignite that passion, curiosity and excitement for that work. The most exciting thing about this project is that the story is not over yet.


Follow Suzie and Ricky on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/suzieandricky and twitter: @SuzieandRicky

Posted on March 22, 2017 modantony in Winner Reports, WTWinner | Leave a comment

What Stevie Wray did with his prize money…

Stevie was voted the winner of the Energy Zone in November 2015. Here he reports back on how he used his £500 prize money for more engineering outreach.

If you’re an engineer who’d like funding to support your own STEM outreach activities, apply now for I’m an Engineer, Get me out of here at imanengineer.org.uk/engineers


My winnings from the 2015 Energy Zone of I’m an Engineer, Get me out of here have now started to be put to good use! I’ve donated the money to Science Oxford who organise Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) outreach activities in Oxfordshire (and beyond). They’ve restarted a club that is close to my heart called the Creative Computing Club; in this incarnation they are using BBC micro:bits to teach children to code and understand a bit about computing in general – even down to the electronics level! The initial plan for the money was to fund places in the previous version of the club for girls on their (already quite cheap) sessions but only a few people took them up on this and half of them didn’t even turn up!

Stevie and the new coders taking part in his workshops

Stevie and the new coders using the programmable micro:bit computers

With lessons learnt in mind, the money has now been put towards hardware for the micro:bits to allow for more engaging projects. This January I helped Sarah at Science Oxford and some other amazing volunteers to run the free taster sessions for this new club. In this taster session we got kids, and sometimes their parent and grandparents, learning how to program the micro:bit with Python (my personal favourite programming language). They were making a heartbeat by displaying a pulsating heart image on the micro:bit itself and connecting a speaker to the output pins to make it pulse along with the picture.

This was all done in half an hour, with the session repeated 4 and a half times on the day. Only one person came to the last session so I’m counting it as a half… We received a load of positive feedback for the sessions and everyone I spoke to said they were going to come back for the full-fat hour and a half sessions starting at the end of February.

One of the workshop sessions in full swing

One of the workshop sessions in full swing

The specific hardware that’s been bought is micro:bit breakout boards, giving easy access to all of the general purpose input and output (GPIO) pins of the micro:bit. This is going to be particularly useful for the final project in this creative computing series of making a “MicroBot”. That’s a micro:bit controlled robot! There should be enough money from the I’m an Engineer money to buy a fair few robot chassis too. I think this club will be a big success and enthuse loads of children to learn more about the technology around them.

For up-to-date information on the creative computing clubs check out the Science Oxford website. Also, if you’re interested in doing stuff like this and you can’t make it to Oxford on Saturday mornings then I advise you to buy (or maybe receive for free if you’re a lucky year 7) a micro:bit to just get stuck in! There are loads of freely available tutorials and low cost bits of hardware making for a cheap, fun hobby!

Posted on March 1, 2017 modantony in IETWinner, Winner Reports | Leave a comment

What Zoe George did with her prize money…

Zoe George was voted the winner of the the Food Zone in June 2014. She used the money to facilitate workshops in the Chemical Engineering department at the University of Birmingham for 100 school students.

Zoe spent £200 on a microscope and camera that allows the students to take their own images of different substances in the workshops. Zoe said ‘My main aim was to get across the role a food engineer plays in the development of everyday products that you eat, which you probably don’t even think about.‘ The rest of the funds were used for workshop supplies and travel expenses.

zoe george STEM outreach microscope pic

“My microscope and a camera that I bought which connects the microscope to the computer. The picture on the computer is of a sample taken of skin cream.”

 

If you’re an engineer who’d like funding to support your own STEM outreach activities, apply now for I’m an Engineer, Get me out of here at imanengineer.org.uk/engineers

Posted on February 15, 2017 modantony in Winner Reports, WTWinner | Leave a comment

What Rhys Archer did with her prize money…

Rhys won the Space for All Zone in June 2015. Since then she’s been hard at work setting up her own outreach project: Women of Science, and here she tells us about the experience.

If you’re an engineer who’d like the funding to develop your own outreach activities apply for I’m an Engineer at imanengineer.org.uk/engineer-apply.


I had done quite a lot of science outreach within schools before I took part in the Space for All Zone last March, so I had a good idea of the issues I wanted to try and address with the prize money – namely being 1) under representation of women in science, and 2) misrepresentation of what science and engineering is.

My first idea was to create leaflets to send to widening participation schools, one a very illustrative one showing the different types of science and engineering jobs which affect everyday life, and the second would focus on women in science, to give role models to female students interested in STEM. Throughout the I’m an Engineer process, and with the feedback of the young people I speaking to, I decided to focus solely on the issues around women in science.

Now, creating 2 leaflets wouldn’t have been too much work – my husband is a graphic designer and my dad works in printing press – I couldn’t have been better placed.

The explosive main page of the Women of Science website

The explosive main page of the Women of Science website.

However, I wanted to do more than just print a leaflet and send it to schools. I wanted to create something multi-layered, that would engage with people and give a chance for people to interact with it. Something that can evolve and develop, rather than just a static piece of paper. So instead, I used the money to start my own campaign, Women of Science, sharing stories of women in STEM.

The premise of the idea is based on Humans of New York – simple portrait photos, with short quotes about the person’s life. I find this method so engaging, personally, but I have also been following the impact of this method and its various sister campaigns – and it has been phenomenal. Also, it brings together several things I am passionate about – Science, equality, outreach, and photography!

My main aim with Women of Science is to engage people about the lives of female scientists – to show them as relatable people, to give young people some real attainable role models, to truly show how diverse and how multidisciplinary the sciences are – and to tell a scientist’s story which is more than a fact file of qualifications and day to day duties.

These scientists might like fashion like you do, they might like football, they might enjoy cooking. Science may not (and probably isn’t) the be all and end all of their existence, they are not geniuses – they are regular people, who do science, and happen to be female.

This is what I wanted to showcase through a website, social media sites, and leaflets in the form of collectable postcards to send to schools. Featuring one woman a fortnight, and exploring her life and interests through 3-4 simple photographs and quotes, with a blog post attached with  more information – making female scientist role models truly attainable, and trying to break any of the stereotypes that are out there.

Neha is the first story on the website. Click to see what she says about being a materials scientist

Neha’s is the first story on the website. Click to see what she says about being a materials scientist

Although showcasing the stories of these women to young females interested in science is my main aim through Women of Science, I am also using the platform to talk about other issues around diversity in the sciences, and to present research in the form of clear infographics. I also hope to be able to boost the recognition of the women I speak to – to promote their own blogs and social media sites, to promote their research papers and published work, and to also create a resource not just for young people, but for all women working in the sciences.

So far the prize funds have been spent on setting up the website – www.womenofsci.com, purchasing interview equipment, and the rest will go on postcards business cards and stickers for events.

When I put the call out in March for women to be involved – I got a staggering 40 women from all across the UK and EU wanting to be involved – passionately wanting to be involved! That’s many months of stories to get out there and I can’t wait for all of you to read them.

I am really humbled to have some really fantastic women doing some really exciting things who have offered not just their time but also their support and encouragement to me and this campaign. The website will continue to be updated week on week as well as the social media streams. I will use the blog part of the website to showcase my own story as a women/communicator/human in STEM, and I will send an annual round of postcards to schools (funding permitting).

And that’s not it! I have a habit of dreaming big – and I want to push this campaign to be something different, something new. I have ideas for a photography exhibition type event with talks on women of science, talks to schools, creating a installation wall of anecdotes and advice from women of science at schools and universities, and perhaps one day a magazine, showcasing wonderful ordinary women in stem, telling their stories, sharing their research, giving them all a voice, discussing the most recent research on the area. So if anybody has any free time and a whole bunch of money – you know where I am!


Check out the Women of Science website and subscribe to receive a monthly newsletter including new stories, blogs and updates.

To get involved, or for more information, contact Rhys at www.womenofsci.com/contact

Posted on December 7, 2016 modantony in UKSAWinner, Winner Reports | Leave a comment