Engineering Heroes – The 2021 Top 50 Women in Engineering #WE50
Founded by the Women’s Engineering Society in 2016, the WE50 awards are a UK event linked to International Women in Engineering Day (INWED)– the celebration of women in engineering that takes place on 23 June each year.
In association with The Guardian newspaper and Assystem, the 2021 Top 50 Women in Engineering celebrates the Engineering Heroes:
the best, brightest and bravest women in engineering, who recognise a problem, then dare to be part of the solution;
who undertake everyday ‘heroics’ as much as emergency ones.
Derived from the Greek word hērōs, “hero” literally means “protector” or “defender” and in 2020-21 engineers around the world have played a major role in protecting and defending us from the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, the extraordinary public health crisis we are experiencing has brought into sharp focus how engineers also deliver and maintain critical services and infrastructure, keep civic society functioning at every level, and support lives and livelihoods. And let’s not forget those engineers who also undertake world-leading research and innovation to tackle the long-term, structural global challenges of our time, especially climate change.
The 2021 Top 50 Women in Engineering: Engineering Heroes winners are (in alphabetical order):
- Dr habil Tayebeh Ameri, Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering
- Samidha Anand, Engineering Manager, Caterpillar UK (Perkins Engines Co Ltd)
- Phoebe Baker, Construction Manager, Mace
- Dr Claire Bennett, Senior Geotechnical Engineer, Arup
- Dr Grace Campbell, Senior Natural Hazard and Risk Specialist, Arup
- Jackie Carpenter, Director, Friendship Cohousing
- Dame Jo da Silva Global Sustainable Development Leader, Arup
- Georgia Davey, Senior Buyer, Babcock International Group
- WO2 Claire Dewhirst, Aircraft Engineer, 1 Regiment AAC Workshop REME (Ministry of Defence)
- Dr Karen Donaldson, Research Associate, University of Edinburgh
- Professor Hua Dong, Professor in Design, Dean of Brunel Design School, Brunel University London
- Dr Katherine Dunn, Lecturer, The University of Edinburgh
- Dr Natalia Falagán, Lecturer in Food Science and Technology, Cranfield University
- Professor Elena Gaura, Professor of Pervasive Computing, Coventry University
- Kate Grant, Director of Network West Midlands, Cadent Gas Limited
- Katherine Grigg, HS2 Main Works Agent, SCS Railways Joint Venture (HS2 Main Works)
- Jo Hartnell, Assistant Tunnelling Engineer, Atkins
- Milly Hennayake, Civil Water Engineer, Arup
- Jean Hewitt, Senior Inclusive Design Consultant, Buro Happold
- Debbie Janson, Senior Lecturer, University of Bath
- Dr Sohini Kar-Narayan, Reader (Associate Professor) in Device & Energy Materials, University of Cambridge
- Emma Kent, Director – Construction, Metropolitan Police
- Dr Suk Kinch, Senior design and development engineer, Renishaw Neuro Solutions
- Hanna Leeson, Senior Environmental Engineer, BAE SYSTEMS
- Dr Kristen MacAskill, Lecturer, University of Cambridge
- Caitlin McCall, Engineering Doctorate Student, Swansea University and icmPrint
- Linda McVittie, Sales Manager, Scotland, J & E Hall Limited
- Dr Helen Meese, Founder & CEO, The Care Machine Ltd
- Susana Neves e Brooks, Lead Project Manager, National Grid
- Mimi Nwosu, Assistant Materials Engineer, Sir Robert McAlpine
- Jennifer Olsen, PhD researcher, Newcastle University
- Polly Osborne, Assistant Electrical Engineer, Burns & McDonnell
- Dr Cristiana Pace, Founder, E-novation
- Dr Tannaz Pak, Senior Lecturer in Energy and Environmental Engineering, Teesside University
- Sergeant Sarah Partington, Senior Medical and Dental Technician, Army Medical Services Training Centre
- Kelly Paul, Core Projects Team Lead – UKI, Air Products PLC
- Kayisha Payne, Founder & Programme Director, BBSTEM (Black British Professionals in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Ltd
- Andrea Pearson, Senior Engineer – Operations, Sabic UK Petrochemicals
- Professor Alison Raby, Professor of Environmental Fluid Mechanics, University of Plymouth
- Catherine Rennie, Consultant ENT surgeon, Charing Cross Hospital
- Professor Jane Rickson, Professor of Soil Erosion and Conservation, Cranfield University
- Dr Dipa Roy, Senior Lecturer, The University of Edinburgh
- Jyoti Sehdev, Group EDI lead, Costain
- Era Shah, Senior Engineer – HS2 Enabling Works, Costain Skanska Joint Venture (HS2 Enabling Works)
- Professor Rebecca Shipley, Professor of Healthcare Engineering, UCL
- Dr Maria Sunyer Pinya, Senior Climate Change Consultant, Arup
- Dr Larissa Suzuki, Data/AI Practice Lead, Google
- Sue Threader, Bridge Clerk (Chief Executive), Rochester Bridge Trust
- Hannah Vickers, Chief Executive, Association for Consultancy and Engineering
- Julie Wood, Director, Arup
- Head Judge, Professor Catherine Noakes OBE, Deputy Director of Leeds Institute for Fluid Dynamics and Co-Director
for the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics, and member of the UK Government SAGE Committee for Covid-19
- Simon Barber, UK Managing Director, Assytem, WE50 Sponsor
- Dawn Childs FREng, UK Change Director, National Grid,
- Emma Crichton, Head of Engineering, Engineers without Borders,
- Scott Dalrymple, Vice-President HR, Crane,
- Elizabeth Donnelly, Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Engineering Society,
- Neil Gibbs, ABB,
- Frankie Laugier-Davies, Senior Account Manager, Pareto Facilities Management Ltd,
- Mark McBride Wright, Equal Engineers,
- Sarah Mogford, Environment and Planning Divisional Director, RSK,
- Emma Nicholson, Development Project Manager, SLC Rail, and WES Trustee
- Elizabeth Oni-Iyiola, Development Director, Inclusive Boards,
- Steff Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Measurement and Control, and
- Mara Tafadzwa Makoni, Association of Black Engineers (AFBE)
Our top 50 were chosen from 100 Finalists. Those who made the final 100 but not the Top 50 are listed here:
- Halimatu Abubakar, Support Engineer, Collins Aerospace
- Alison Ball, Associate Director, Arup
- Kerry Bartram, Head of Equipment Management, Babcock International Group
- Lorna Bennet, Project Engineer, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult
- Dr Marzia Bopagni, Senior BIM Manager, Mace
- Jasmine Brittan, Civil Engineering Student, University of Warwick
- Dr Claire Brockett, Associate Professor, University of Leeds, Mechanical Engineering, Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering
- None Heather Campbell, Apprentice Design Engineer, Network Rail
- Dr Rachel Craddock, Technical Consultant, Thales
- Beth Dickens, Director, Quoceant
- None Katie Frost, Infrastructure Director, Sussex, Network Rail
- Monisha Gower, Head of Eastern Network Investment Planning Office, Cadent Gas
- Marion Hoer, Brigade Artificer, 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade, British Army
- Professor Louise Horsfall, Chair of Sustainable Biotechnology, University of Edinburgh
- Dr Shan-Shan Huang, Senior Lecturer & Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions, The University of Sheffield
- Maddy J, Research Lead, GCHQ
- Dr Tina Joshi, Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology, University of Plymouth
- Dr Eluned Lewis, Senior Fellow, Personal Ballistic Protection, Defence Equipment and Support, Ministry of Defence
- Kirsten McLaughlin, Corporate Environmental Manager, WSP UK Limited
- Stephanie Moakes, Section Engineer, Laing O’Rourke
- Dr Irene Moulitsas, Senior Lecturer in Scientific Computing, Cranfield University
- Oluwabukola Okoro, Quality Engineer, Ford Motor Company Ltd
- Capt Fionidi Parker, Training Officer, 3 Armd CS Bn REME, REME, British Army
- Gemma Parkes-Walley, Project Delivery Engineer, National Grid
- Sarah Parsons, Director of Compliance, CityFibre Holdings Limited
- Eva Peláez Álvarez, Researcher, Cranfield University
- Alison Pepper, Principal Engineer, Arcadis
- Kaye Pollard, Civil Engineer, Mott MacDonald
- Bethany Quayle, Project Engineer, Network Rail
- Dr Lavinia Raganelli, Consultant, CRA – Assystem
- Caroline Raynor, Project Manager – HS2 Enabling Works, Costain Skanska Joint Venture (HS2 Enabling Works)
- Holley Reece-Barkell, Delivery Manager, Frazer-Nash Consultancy Ltd.
- Dr Sophie Robinson, Senior Flight Dynamics Engineer, Vertical Aerospace Group
- Camilla Rock, Principal Engineer (Competency and Capability), Network Rail
- Vita Sanderson, Senior Consultant, Arup
- Rupali Sharma-Patel, Senior Architect/Engineering Lead for Built to Rent – TFL Property Development, Transport for London
- Laura Shrieves, Head of Engineering, Thales Training and Simulation
- Rachel Strachan, Section Engineer, Laing O’Rourke
- Dr Manuela Villani, Associate, Arup
- Amber Villegas-Williamson, Consultant, Uptime Institute
- Katie W, Engineering Delivery Lead, GCHQ Manchester, GCHQ
- Kay W, Deputy Director Science & Technology, GCHQ
- Dr Sara Walker, Director of the National Centre for Energy SysteIntegration, Newcastle University
- Alexandra Walker, European Powertrain Quality and Warranty Manager, Ford Motor Company
- Vicki Walsh, UK Head of HSQE, Assystem
- Claire Wansbury, Associate Director, Atkins Ltd
- Dr Natasha Waston, Senior Structural Engineer, Buro Happold
- Hayley Wong, City and Guilds College Union President, City and Guilds College Union
- Dr Pippa Wood, Senior Ecologist/Biodiversity Designer, Arup
- Sarah Woolham-Jaffier, Project Supervisor, National Grid
- Carmen Zaragoza, Senior Service Engineer, Siemens Energy
More 2021 Competitions...
The Big Bang Competition Announces Winner Of Gsk Uk Young Engineer Of The Year Prize
A student from Rugby has been awarded the top prize in The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition.
Kaede Sugano, a Year 12 student from Rugby School was crowned GSK UK Young Engineer of the Year for her project, ‘RIHLA’. Inspired by her grandparents trying to find a perfect holiday for their 50th wedding anniversary, Kaede developed a website, which compares package holidays and suggests the one that best meets a traveller’s needs, using an algorithm she created.
Users rate tourist spots using 3 different criteria – sentiment, novelty and physical ability – and the app takes the traveller’s preference and package holiday profile using the algorithm to measure the similarity between them. With this service, travellers would be able to easily find a tour with which they are satisfied without having to go through the complex details of comparing the tour by themselves.
Kaede’s project was one of 200 submitted to this year’s Big Bang Competition, an annual contest designed to recognise and reward young people’s achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), as well as helping them build skills and confidence in project-based work. The awards were announced at Big Bang Digital: Redefine the future, a 3-day, digital event aimed at 11 to 14 year olds, packed full of inspiring and interactive sessions designed to open young people’s eyes to future developments they could be part of.
Previous winners have gone on to enjoy a range of other achievements on the back of their successes – including, getting backing from businesses for their projects, setting up their own businesses, taking part in conference presentations to industry professionals as well as appearing on the television and radio shows to talk about their projects.
The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition aims to recognise and reward young people’s achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and provide them with the opportunity to build their skills and confidence in project-based work. It is open to 11-to-18 year olds from across the UK who have completed a project or activity in any field of science, technology, engineering or maths.
Winners of the Competition were announced as part of Big Bang Digital, which takes place from Wednesday 23 to Friday 25 June. Aimed at 11 to 14 year olds, Big Bang Digital will be packed with inspiring and interactive sessions to open young people’s eyes to future developments they could be part of.
Congratulating the winners, Dr Hilary Leevers, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK, which organises The Big Bang Competition, said:
“There is no denying that students have had to deal with a lot of disruption to their learning in recent months, and the quality of this year’s entries is a testament to their talent, dedication and creativity under these difficult circumstances. It’s particularly exciting to offer huge congratulations to Kaede on International Women in Engineering Day, whose innovative project has seen her crowned GSK UK Young Engineer of the Year 2021.
“At a time when we could all use a big dose of optimism for the future, the inventiveness and skill we’ve seen this year’s Big Bang Competition has been a reassuring and inspiring tonic for all those involved in the judging – so we’d like to extend a huge congratulations and heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated.”
Kaede Sugano, who picked up the GSK UK Young Engineer of the Year 2021 title, said: “Currently, people all over the world are unable to travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic but, hopefully soon, we will be free to travel again. My dream is that my website will be helpful for people when this happens. I am very happy to receive this award, and it gives me the courage to continue my efforts to solve social problems with technology. I would also like to thank my teachers at school for teaching me the fun of mathematics, physics, and computing.”
Karen Mullen, VP, Country Medical Director – UK & Ireland at GSK said: “GSK is very proud to sponsor the UK Young Engineer of the Year Award as an important part of our commitment to discovering and developing young people through every step of their journey in STEM.
“As a professional in the field of STEM myself, I am particularly excited to meet the incredible talent that is showcased in The Big Bang Competition and to be involved with supporting the next generation of scientists in the UK.
“It was not easy to select the winners among so many incredible entries of very high quality. They left me inspired and I wish all of them never-ending curiosity, to dream big and to lead the way in ongoing innovation and progress within the critically important field of STEM.”
Find out more about how you can explore Big Bang Digital by visiting www.thebigbangfair.co.uk.
We had THREE new competitions for INWED20… see below for details
- #INWED20 University Poster Competition – Shape your World for a Sustainable Future!
The following are the winners of the INWED poster competition for universities
1st place Rosie Mulligan, 4th year Mechanical Engineering student from Heriot-Watt University. Poster title: New Wind Turbines Inspired by Nature.
2nd place Hooi Yee Lim, 4th year Engineering and Physical Science student from the University of Southampton. Poster title: A Data-Driven Global-Ranking Model: Biodiesel Energy-Water-Food Index (BEWFI).
3rd place Niki Kotecha, 2nd year Chemical Engineering student from the University of Cambridge. Poster title: Zero.
1st place Mercy Chinenye Iroegbu, MSc student in Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Leeds. Poster title: Role of Nigerian Women in Food Sustainability.
2nd place Barbara Bourgade, PhD student in Chemical Engineering at Loughborough University. Poster title: Commodity Chemicals Production from C1 Gases in Moorella thermoacetica.
3rd place Yiheng Hu, PhD student in Computing and Engineering at the University of Huddersfield. Poster title: Transient Energy Storage System for Sustainable Power Systems.
- The following are the winners of the INWED poster competition for schools and colleges…#INWED20 Schools and Colleges Poster Competition – Engineering A Sustainable World!
Junior (age 11 – 14)
1st Place Mathmita Manimohan age 14, Lady Eleanor Holles school, UK
2nd Place Mathura Manimohan age 12, Lady Eleanor Holles school, UK
1st Place Sophie Jones age 17, St Albans High School, UK
2nd Place Ruby Ingham age 15, Skipton Girls High School, UK
3rd Place Luke Obilo age 15, Stonyhurst College, UK
The INWED20 Poster Competition for schools and colleges was launched for the first time this year. It encouraged young people to investigate sustainability in engineering through creating a ‘poster’. It was extremely well supported and we’re really pleased to say that we received over 50 entries from the UK, USA, France, India and Australia! There were two categories for younger and older entrants with lots of exciting entries.
- New Global Lottie Competition!
In Partnership with the Women’s Engineering Society, Arklu, creators of the Lottie doll were excited to announce, a Worldwide STEAM Competition (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Maths) giving kids the chance to design their very own Lottie Doll Soapbox Race Car! The winning design will be made into a real toy Soapbox Race Car, available all over the world!!
There were two age groups for the competition with winners announced below
The Under 6 Competition was a Colouring / Design Competition.
Under 6s winners
1st place Holly Backhouse age 3.5 years
2nd place Martina age 5 years
3rd place Emily age 5 years
The 6+ Competition was to create a Soap Box Derby car using materials you find around your home.
Over 6s winners
1st place Beatrix Blazey age 7 years
2nd place Eva Kitching age 10 years
3rd place Saskia Yeomans-Hill age 8 years
‘Give Yourself The Edge’ Essay
Theme of 100 Years of Inventions.
Alaa – Aged 11, from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia!
Due to the high level of entries in 2019, we also congratulated the following highly commended entries;
Emily – Aged 14, Stanchester Academy, UK
Daniel – Aged 12, Stanchester Academy, UK
Amy – Aged 14, Roseberry School, UK
The WES Young Members’ Board judged the competition and were extremely impressed by the high quality of entries
Many thanks to all the children who entered the competition – we hope they will take part in future years
Draw an Engineer Competition 2019
The INWED Draw an Engineer competition 2019 received over 260 entries from countries across the globe including UK, Hungary, Japan, India and Australia! The winning entries were:
Key Stage 1:
1st – Isa (Age 6) Kirchhörder, Germany
2nd–Lizzie (Age 5) Bradley Stoke Community School, UK
3rd – Amelia (Age 5) Charfield Primary School, UK
Key Stage 2:
1st – Medhansh (Age 7) Maxfort School, India
2nd – Zachary (Age 8) : St John’s Brignorth
3rd – Amelie (Age 7) Groveside Primary, UK
The competition aimed at children 5 -11, proved to be a great way to get school children involved in International Women in Engineering Day 2019!
A big thank you to the WES Young Members’ Board who help to organise and judge the competition. They reported an extremely high level of entries in both age groups and thoroughly enjoyed looking at all drawings of engineers from all entrants!
Draw an Engineer Competition 2018
The INWED Draw an Engineer competition 2018 received over 120 entries from across the globe!
Aimed at children 5 -11 (in the UK in key stages 1 and 2), it proved to be a great way to get school children involved in International Women in Engineering Day 2018.
Our 2018 judging panel consisted of 3 members of WES’ Young Members’ Board. They all reported an extremely high level of entries in both age groups and thoroughly enjoyed looking at all drawings of engineers from all entrants
We are delighted to announce the 2018 winners are noted below
5-7 years (KS1) Winners:
1st place: Aurelia, Year 1, Arnold View Primary School
2nd place: Aisha, age 6, home schooled
3rd place: Amy, age 7, West Whitney Primary School
7/8-11 years (KS2) Winners:
1st place: Alaa, age 10, Modern Middle East International
2nd place: Amelia, age 10, West End Academy
3rd place: Evie, age 10, West End Academy
Thank you to Abrams and Chronicle and Kate Pankhurst at Bloomsbury Publishing plc for donating the prizes for this competition.
Draw an Engineer Competition 2017
The INWED17 celebrations included a competition for young engineers (3-11 years), asking them to ‘Draw an Engineer’ using their creativity and artistic skills.
There were just under 100 entries for the competition and the 6 winners were chosen by Maeve Higham, Caroline Carslaw and Holly Goodwin from the WES YMB. Each winner received a copy of ‘Rosie Revere, Engineer’ by Andrea Beaty and every entrant received a participation certificate.
As part of our celebrations for NWED2016, we partnered with Butterfly Books and relaunched a great competition for young engineers (4-11 years) by asking them to ‘Draw an Engineer’ using their creativity and artistic skills.
Winners received a copy of ‘MY MUMMY IS AN ENGINEER’ courtesy of Butterfly Books and a copy of the charming book Sky Pods in Phnom Penh by Bryony Mathew.
Our lucky winners were:
Daisy Wagg from Caerphilly
Izzy Faulker from Dorset
Muad Moorcroft Towers from Abingdon
Daisy O’Dyer from Hemel Hempstead