Category Archives: WTWinner

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 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 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

What Will Scott-Jackson did with his prize money…

Will was voted the winner of Hospitals Zone in June of 2015. Here he updates us on what he’s been able to do with his £500 prize money since winning…


My Year Since “I’m an Engineer…”

As I bask in the glory of my victory just over a year ago; I stop and take stock. I reflect on all the ideas I had, promises and pledges made to invest the winning money wisely; and now today I reveal unto you the fruits of said labour!

Let’s get real here, big projects don’t always go as planned. Plans change, tasks that seemed simple at first turn out to be gargantuan in nature and some ideas just don’t pan out. But luckily, my plans didn’t go ENTIRELY terribly, some good progress was made and I have some cool stuff to show for it. Without further ado, here is what I have been up to (well, the relevant stuff anyway) since winning “I’m an Engineer; get me out of here”!

will scott jackson winner 2

Me and my happy Code Clubbers

I have spent the prize money on whatever will help me with my outreach activities. Upon hearing of its existence I have purchased a Raspberry Pi 3 for me to produce workshops on. The entire code base for the games development project below was prepared and tested on that Raspberry Pi to ensure it would work with the school’s Raspberry Pi’s. I have also managed to snag myself a Raspberry Pi Zero for me to experiment with some new workshop ideas on that.

My latest purchase was two huge boxes of sensors, components etc. to inspire future workshops. Among these are heart rate sensors, motors, microphones among other things to be use in the upcoming “Engineering for Health” workshops, more details below. I’m very excited to see how this latest round of workshops goes down; as engineering in healthcare has been the last three years of my life, and a crazy mix of stress, boredom, frustration and elation all in equal measure.

The rest of the money that was kindly given to me was spent on camera equipment to start up a YouTube channel; such as the camera itself for capturing my dazzling good looks, tripod, vocal microphone, microphone stand and audio interface for recording my silky smooth voice.

Here’s some more on the projects my equipment has helped to support…

Teaching Teachers About Teaching Technology

As the school curriculum is adapting to incorporate Computing and Computer Science into them; it is important that teachers are prepared for this. The unfortunate fact is that most existing IT teachers are not adequately trained to delivery a completely comprehensive computing curriculum. This is where I and the department of Widening Participation and Outreach at the University of Surrey come in. We have been doing our best to support schools in their delivery of Computer Science and ensuring that their pupils our engaged. To do this we’ve been tackling this problem from two different angles:

Teaching Coding Days: School teachers come to us at the University for two days of intensive Coding. We set them up with Raspberry Pi’s and give them a stack of tasks and challenges to complete. We even occasionally let them have something to eat or go to the bathroom! The point of these exercises is to give them two working days of uninterrupted programming. This way they can see first hand what it is to program for a length of time, encounter the kinds of problems students run into so they can be better prepared for delivering lessons on these subjects.

Coding Hubs: This is where we deliver the programming lessons straight to students; they either visit us at the University or we visit them at their own schools. We give them a wide variety of workshops and challenges to help them learn programming. The intention here is not to replace the role of the teacher, but to engage students and get them interested in engineering and computer sciences as a career.

Because we are doing this within the department of Widening Participation and Outreach; the students we reach are guaranteed to be from a background where the participation in University level education is low. We’ve reached hundreds of students with these activities and hopefully inspired many of them to tackle STEM subjects at a University level. Our latest project involves games development in Python! We’ve prepared a long running project, where students are to develop their own version of Brick Breaker/Breakout; it is up to them to write the code that handles the on screen graphics, the physics and collision detection.

Inspiring Young Engineers summer schools

Every year, the University of Surrey runs several summer schools; two of which I have always been involved in. The Young Person’s University, and HeadStart. The former of these two is organised and run by the Department of Widening Participation and Outreach and aims to attract students from demographics where University applications are low. This is our chance to inspire them to go to University and study STEM subjects when they might not have tried. The kinds of workshops I run for these are electronics and programming workshops using Arduino as a platform. The students are given the kits and some worksheets to work through. In that time they should learn a little about what it is working in a modern electronics environment and what they can expected to do if they study Electronic Engineering at University.

The latter of the two schools is aimed at high achieving students who have just finished their AS levels are looking for Universities to apply for in their UCAS applications. We run very similar workshops to those as in the Young Person’s University; they are merely targeted at a separate student demographic.

What is different this year is that the University is in the middle of constructing it’s “Engineering for Health” teaching laboratories. In these labs, students will be learning skills to tackle problems related to health and health care with engineering skills and disciplines. Naturally, we’ve adapted our workshops to fit this theme. This year, thanks to equipment bought with the I’m an Engineer prize money, we have some interesting health related challenges for students to tackle!

(Dreaming of) Becoming a Youtube Sensation

One of the things I REALLY wanted to do with the prize money was to invest in the equipment to start up a Youtube channel; where I can make videos and demonstrations of cool projects. I toyed with this idea merely months before competing in “I’m an Engineer” and produced three very short and snappy tutorials to supplement my Coding Hub endeavours: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLH_HFKBhWFZpU2fsF78XPEaGMglZKd52P

After winning, one of the first things I did was purchase the equipment necessary to give it a go and experiment with the idea of producing bigger, more ambitious and more engaging videos. That’s when I quickly realised how much of a gargantuan effort video production is… The other challenge was making videos both useful and interesting to someone who’d like to get into engineering. What I had concluded was that I should make DIY types of videos, perhaps supplemented with a website of written instructions to complete these projects. I also concluded that I would probably need some help; as video production involves script writing, filming and editing. Producing a 20 minute video could take just as many hours to do!

For now the idea has remained dormant until after I finish my PhD and I should (hopefully) have some spare time going for me! Given that I’m down to less than 6 months remaining; watch this space!

I had an amazing two weeks competing in “I’m an Engineer”; I was asked all kinds of interesting questions. In that time I learned a lot about what students are striving for these days; but I was also amazed by how much I’d learned about myself in that time. I can’t thank everyone enough for giving me the opportunity to chase up ideas I would never have had the chance to otherwise, and I very much look forward to seeing how much further I can take my ideas in the future.


Fancy winning £500 for your own outreach activities? Apply for the next I’m an Engineer event at imanengineer.org.uk/engineer-apply

Posted on August 11, 2016 modantony in Winner Reports, WTWinner | Leave a comment