Five women students at the University of Wolverhampton have won scholarship funds.
They are all involved in the university's very own motor-racing team UWR, which has competed in Formula 3 and other classifications of the sport. The team's newest car is The new car is a Praga R1.
The Women in Engineering scholarships have been donated by local entrepreneurs Walter and Alexa Gleeson on behalf of their firm Highclear Investments – the title partner of UWR.
Two of the scholarships were donated by FBC Manby Bowdler, local solicitors in Wolverhampton and Shropshire, who also sponsor UWR, and two further donations by an anonymous local donor.
Each recipient will receive £1,000, which will go towards supporting and encouraging the students as part of the university’s commitment to promoting women in science and engineering. The students were nominated because of their excellent achievements in their exams and based on their commitment to their studies and extra-curricular activities throughout the academic year.
Laura Thompson, aged 26, from Telford, a second year mechanical engineering student was awarded the Highclear Investments scholarship and Nicole Poole, 19, from Leicestershire, was awarded the momney by FBC Manby Bowdler.
Amira Shah, 20, studying motorsport engineering in her first year and from Birmingham, was gifted the other FBC Manby Bowdler scholarship. She said: “I wasn’t really interested in cars, but I studied a Btec in engineering and started to get interested in the automotive side.
“The scholarship award was very unexpected and it’s going to be very useful to help me with travel costs to the UWR team races, so I’ll be using the money for that to further my engineering experience. I’m hoping to perhaps move into the data field or doing something hands-on like in the pit lane.”
Laura, a second year mechanical engineering student, who has been gifted a scholarship for the second year running, said: “I worked really hard to get this scholarship again this year. This will be really helpful for me and the money will go towards the equipment I need during my studies. I’ve really pushed to prove myself this year and this is a fantastic reward for the efforts I’ve put in.
“It’s been really exciting working on the race team this year and it’s been interesting having a different car to work on . A lot of the skills are transferable from Formula 3 but we’re learning so much. I definitely want to go into design, perhaps in the military, in the future.”
Walter Gleeson, co-founder of MusicMagpie and Highclear Investments, said: “I went to see UWR race last year and saw the incredible passion of the students, but I also noticed that it was mostly men in the team. My support for the University and UWR is to help grow diversity in engineering, especially with women engineers, and I’m delighted the scholarship I’ve donated has gone to one of the female students in UWR.”
Nicole Poole, second year motorsport engineering student who has been working on the Formula Student competition car this year said: “I was actually set on studying to be a fashion designer, but I had always watched Formula 1 with my dad and I had one option left at school and decided to study engineering which I enjoyed, it really sparked an interest. I then did a Btec at college and started to get interested in motorsport and haven’t looked back.
“I’m taking a year off next year for a placement so will be funding some of that with the scholarship money as well as trying to get to as many races as I can. I’m hoping the placement will give me some ideas of future careers as it’s with one of our team sponsors so there will be real synergy there.”
Neil Lloyd, managing director at FBC Manby Bowdler, said: “We have a long-standing relationship with the University of Wolverhampton Race Team and the School of Engineering in Telford.
“We offer these scholarships because we all understand the importance and benefits of having a diverse workforce and hopefully these scholarships will provide much needed support for the students.
“The engineering sectors can provide excellent careers and this is our way of giving something back and saying thank you.”
Amanraj Dosanjh, studying for aerospace engineering in her third year and Zanabou Traore, studying for chemical engineering in her third year have both been gifted scholarships from the anonymous local donor.
Amanraj said: “The engineering field is constantly evolving and changing, which appeals to my desire to learn new and interesting principles and theories. I am currently a member of the unmanned aircraft system team, which uses knowledge of aerodynamic principles and computer-aided design software to create an unmanned aerial vehicle to specification. These are topics I learned on my course that will help me in my future career as an engineering consultant or data analyst.”
Zanabou, an international student from Côte D’Ivoire, said: “I decided to study chemical engineering because I’m passionate about technology and this field is a path towards my aspirations of becoming the owner of the biggest manufacturing industry in my country of Côte D’Ivoire. I learnt through this course that as engineers we have a responsibility towards society and the environment. So, in every plant that we design, people and environmental protection must be our first priority, because nothing can replace life.”
Professor Amar Aggoun, head of the school of computer science, engineering and mathematical science at the university, said: “We are committed to ensuring that we engage with women from all walks of life across our range of courses, but in particular, in our science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees.
“The Women in Engineering Scholarship programme is one of the ways we can offer assistance, with thanks to our strong business partnerships locally, to help women succeed with their engineering and career aspirations.
“All five students will benefit massively from these wonderful donations by three donors who are committed to promoting STEM opportunities and careers for women.”
The University offers a variety of degrees including motorsport, automotive, mechatronics, aerospace, manufacturing, mechanical and chemical engineering in the School of Engineering at the University's Telford Campus based in Priorslee and at its City Campus in Wolverhampton.
The Women in Engineering Scholarship scheme has been running for six years.