Category Archives: RAEngWinner

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 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 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.

Screenshot_101916_114450_AM

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