Engineer’s visit inspires local girls

November 27 2018
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Young Bristol engineer Kate Mactear visited Redmaids’ High Junior School to promote greater involvement in engineering by girls and women.

Kate’s mission, as part of the Women in Engineering Society’s Young Members’ Board, is to get girls at a younger age interested in the subject.

The 25-year-old, who is studying for a Master’s degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Bristol, says she is determined to change the stereotypical image of an engineer.

“It’s time we moved on from the idea of an old man wearing a hard hat,” she said.

“Girls need to see more women working in engineering so that they realise it could be a career for them.”

Her visit to the Westbury-on-Trym based school began by leading an assembly for all year groups when she tested the girls' understanding of how various strands of engineering impact on our daily lives. She then described how she had considered training to be a doctor but decided to focus on biomedical engineering where she can still directly improve people's lives.

She explained how while an undergraduate she had been involved in helping to design the Great British team's track bikes before the Rio Olympics, and later, at BAE Systems, she worked on the design of the skeleton sled before the Winter Olympics.

Kate then lead a hands-on engineering workshop for a group of 30 girls from Years 3 to 6, with a brief to build a 60cm-long, biomedical-style helping-hand device made from everyday items such as cardboard, rubber bands, sponges and clips.