Category Archives: Winner Reports

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

What Matt Maddock did with his prize money…

Matt was voted the winner of the Measurement Zone in 2012. Since then he’s been busy developing his project, and here he reports on his progress.

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.


The money was used to buy a LEGO EV3 Mindstorms Educational set to take part in an educational outreach program run by some colleagues at Diamond Light Source. We’ve developed designs for a fully working diffraction interferometer made from the Mindstorms kit, but we needed the newest version of the LEGO to help test the current designs and develop them further.

Here are some pictures of the current model and a few of its immediate predecessor in various states of completion and use.

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We’ve already been able to take the model out and about to show the public, including open days at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and even to the Natural History Museum.

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We also plan to produce a fully illustrated booklet for schools which will include instructions on how to build their own version of the beamline model, as well as information about its real-life counterpart at Diamond, and the part it plays in synchrotron science and the modern world.

The booklet is, however, currently proving a challenge; Whilst the free software provided by Lego for modelling builds is good as far as it goes, its system for producing instructions falls over somewhat when faced with something as complex as the beamline. I’m hard at work on ways to make everything simple and clear without having to hand draw every stage in crayon!

Posted on November 16, 2016 modantony in STFCWinner, Winner Reports | Leave a comment

What Nicola Lazenby did with her prize money…

Nicola was voted the winner of the Environment Zone in March 2013. Nicola and two of her PhD colleagues run The Energy Community, a website raising awareness of how you can save money on your energy bills.

The site aims to make energy advice simple and easy to understand, and also run energy workshops and support lessons in local schools.

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Screen shot of a messy bedroom from Energy Explorer

Nicola’s prize money was used to develop an interactive game on the site, ‘Energy Explorer’. In it you can explore the different rooms of a house, interacting with different objects and reading about how to save energy.

Follow the Energy Community blog for more of Nicola’s work raising awareness about energy saving.

Posted on November 9, 2016 modantony in RAEngWinner, Winner Reports | Leave a comment

What Naomi Green did with her prize money…

Naomi was voted the winner of Health Zone in March 2015. Here she reports on how she got on using her £500 prize money over the last year.

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.


Taking part in and winning the Health Zone of I’m an Engineer was such an amazing experience! It was wonderful to talk to so many enthusiastic students and share my love of engineering and the research I do.

I spent my £500 prize money on developing a new workshop for secondary school students called the Accident and Emergency Engineering Challenge. The students work in teams to design, build and test a device for holding a broken bone in place whilst it heals.

Naomi Green public outreach engagement bones 3

How would you fix this faulty femur?

Each team is given a model of a “broken” femur bone, a design specification, and a budget for buying materials from a shop. They have to come up with four concept designs and work out how much each design will cost before choosing their final design. They can only visit the shop once to buy materials, which is a bit harsh, but demonstrates the constraints engineers sometimes have to work under.

After building their design each team has to present their device, before testing it to see if it can withstand the required loads. This is always a tense moment as the students see if their designs are going to break or pass the test!

I have delivered the workshop at local schools and events here at the University of Birmingham and each time it gets a really good response from students and teachers. I have also trained up a few colleagues to run the workshop so the equipment I bought is being well used.

Students get to grips with

Students work in teams to get to grips with their new devices

As well as the materials for the workshop I bought a couple of anatomical models to help demonstrate the need for my research. One of the models shows how intervertebral discs degenerate over time and how that affects the spinal cord and nerves nearby. Another model shows how arthritis in the hip progresses and what a hip replacement looks like.

My favourite is a section of the spine, which when you compresses it causes the inside of the intervertebral disc to bulge outwards, showing what happens when someone “slips a disc”. It is really realistic and everyone loves playing with it!

I am so pleased I won IAEGMOOH. It has given me the confidence to develop my outreach skills and take part in other events and activities. I now help to run BrumSciComm a network of science communicators in Birmingham, who all support each other to get out there and tell people how amazing science and engineering is.

I’ve also recently applied for funding for a public engagement grant which will combine my research with my love of singing. If we get the funding we will produce a new choral piece about the experience of having a joint replacement, which will be performed with visuals in the local planetarium. It sounds mad but I have faith it will be brilliant!

Posted on October 26, 2016 modantony in Winner Reports, WTWinner | Leave a comment