Skip to content
ICE Community blog

'You can be your most authentic self and excel as a civil engineer’

10 June 2024

As STEM ambassadors, Ada Nwadigo and Ed Tame challenge myths about who can be an engineer and what it involves.

'You can be your most authentic self and excel as a civil engineer’
Ada Nwadigo and Ed Tame are ICE STEM ambassadors inspiring the next generation.

Engaging the young bright minds of today could be the key to solving the challenges of the future.

As ICE STEM ambassadors, Ada Nwadigo and Ed Tame are strong believers in this.

They are committed to fostering interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) by sharing their knowledge, experience and advice.

We caught up with them to learn more about how they inspire STEM enthusiasts and future innovators.

Preparing the engineers of the future

For Ed Tame, graduate structural engineer at Elliott Wood Partnership Ltd, being a STEM ambassador is a natural extension of his passion for mentoring and knowledge-sharing.

He believes that engaging with the younger generation is crucial for addressing the evolving challenges faced by engineers today, like the climate crisis.

"By inspiring and empowering young people to pursue careers in engineering, we ensure that the next generation is equipped to tackle these challenges," Ed explains.

Ed participated in the ICE’s Time Is Running Out exhibition, which is travelling around the UK.

The exhibition highlights the essential role engineers play in everyday life, like ensuring access to transport and clean water.

The Time Is Running Out exhibition explores important questions about engineering and our future.
The Time Is Running Out exhibition explores important questions about engineering and our future.

A chance to give back

Ada Nwadigo, managing director at Jona Infrastructure, finds that her role as a STEM ambassador allows her to give back to the community.

"It's important to engage with the younger generation because they need to understand that we need civil engineers to make the world a better place," Ada says.

She emphasises that anyone with passion and determination can succeed in this field, challenging stereotypes and myths about who can be an engineer.

Starting early is crucial.

"We need to inspire young minds from primary to secondary school, showing them the vast opportunities in STEM," she says.

Be yourself and excel

Ed and Ada have witnessed the effects of their work on young people's perceptions of civil engineering and STEM fields.

Through school fairs, presentations, and university talks, Ada has shown students that civil engineering is accessible to everyone.

"I've had students tell me they thought civil engineering was only for extremely smart people or just for men,” Ada says.

Seeing a real-life engineer they can relate to changes their perspective. I was very privileged to see a lot of women that were engineers and it made me believe that if they can do it, I can do it too,” she adds.

“It is very important for me to put that message across that you can be a civil engineer and be a woman and be your most authentic self and excel as a civil engineer.”

Engineering is very broad

“One of the most pressing challenges and misconceptions that young people often have about civil engineering is the perception that it is a narrow field focused solely on building roads and bridges,” Ed says.

Ed addresses this myth by highlighting the wide range of disciplines within civil engineering, such as geotechnical, transportation, and environmental.

At the Time Is Running Out exhibition, he aimed to broaden young people's understanding of the field.

How had they travelled to the event? How did they get the water that’s in their bottles?

“They realised that engineers play a large role in the infrastructure that facilitates most of the actions that they make,” Ed says.

Ada also stresses that the field offers diverse career paths, including design, technology, and even emerging areas like artificial intelligence.

Experience to inspire

Ed and Ada's experiences in the civil engineering field uniquely equip them to mentor aspiring engineers.

In his job as a structural engineer, Ed has to work with others and make important, ethical decisions.

“Structural engineering often involves collaboration with professionals from various disciplines, including architects, contractors, and clients,” he explains.

Cooperation can help to tackle complex challenges.

Ada's diverse project experience, leadership roles, and public speaking skills have prepared her to effectively inspire and guide the next generation.

She highlights that civil engineering skills are transferable to many other areas, making it a versatile and rewarding career choice.

"Understanding the technical aspects and how things are built allows me to share that knowledge and inspire aspiring engineers," Ada says.

By sharing their stories, Ada and Ed are helping to break down barriers, challenge misconceptions, and inspire the next generation of engineers.

Their commitment to fostering interest in STEM fields contributes to their individual growth and drives progress and innovation in younger generations.

Aspiring engineers learned that with passion, dedication, and the right mentorship, they too can make a significant impact on the world.

Become an ICE STEM ambassador

Do you have a passion for the built environment and want to share it?

Do you want to share your experience and give young people a chance to enter this great profession?

Do you want to develop your own skills, like planning and public speaking, which can count towards your CPD?

Volunteer as an ICE STEM ambassador

  • Roxana Hurjui, communications lead – London, South East & East of England at Institution of Civil Engineers