Civil engineering ‘infinite imagination’ inspires young post card competition winner

ICE and Atkins invited thirty Year 9 students from Swanshurst Girls School in Birmingham, to a special activity day at the University of Birmingham to celebrate National Women in Engineering day on 23 June.

Sara Jabeen winning post card design
Sara Jabeen winning post card design

During the day, the girls took part in activities designed to give them a flavour of what real engineering is all about. They built a replica cable stayed bridge, and undertook Lego flooding and great gumball challenges.

The girls heard from inspiring speakers, Pip Jefferis, ICE President's Apprentice and Alistair Brown, a Mott MacDonald apprentice, who spoke about what attracted them to the career and the diversity balance in the industry.

Jenny Illingsworth, industrial liaison manager in the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Birmingham, discussed career options and course choices with the girls.

Part of the day involved a competition where the girls researched civil engineering and designed a post card to express what they had learned about the profession.

Lego challenge
Lego challenge

The winning design by Sara Jabeen from Yr 9 9U was chosen to be worked up as an official post card.

Sara's 'infinite imagination' theme impressed the judges, who also loved the way she had incorporated many types of bridge and cleverly surrounded them with numbers. Demonstrating a clear understanding of what civil engineering is about.

Sara has said: “I really enjoyed making the suspension bridge on the NWED day. Creativity is just as important as maths in engineering. I’m very pleased to have my design chosen for the postcard.“

Andrew Davidson the girls' science teacher commented: "The ICE and Atkins provided an excellent day of activities and talks about engineering. The girls were given a great opportunity to find out more about engineering. The flood prevention activity helped them understand the use of engineering to solve real world problems, and some of the challenges and difficult decisions faced. And the bridge-building developed their hands on practical skills.

'Both activities encouraged team working, and had a nice competitive element, and really engaged them all. The talks from a range of engineers helped address some of the misconceptions about engineering, and the opportunities for women. I feel all the girls now have a much greater awareness and appreciation of engineering."