Speakers

Dr Jessica Wade

Imperial College London

Jess is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Physics at Imperial College London, where she is working on chiral organic light emitting diodes. Aside from her research at Imperial, Jess is also a strong advocate for women in science. Most notably, Jess tackles gender bias on Wikipedia.

As less than 20% of Wikipedia profiles are for influential females, Jess has made a large contribution to a campaign that encourages the creation of articles about notable female academics. She has spent 2 years writing around 820 biographies for the online encyclopaedia, and told BBC Radio 4: "I've written about people from all kinds of different backgrounds from across the world, and all different aspects of science…There are the most staggering, phenomenal women out there who don't have biographies yet and I really think the world needs to know those stories”.

She also served on the WISE Campaign Young Women's Board and Women's Engineering Society (WES) Council, working with teachers across the country through the Stimulating Physics Network, including keynote talks at education fairs and teacher conferences.

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Dr Valentina Donzella

WMG

Dr Valentina Donzella is an Associate Professor at the world-renowned academic department, WMG. She is also the Programme Leader of WMG’s MSc in Smart Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, managing a suite of modules in automotive sensors, sensor fusion, machine intelligence, and more.

At university, she studied Electronics Engineering, where she was one of only 10 female students out of 300. Her lecturer’s first introductory words to the girls were: “Let’s see how many of you make it to the end.”

She was expecting her first daughter whilst coming to the end of her PhD and actually wrote her dissertation whilst on maternity leave. People questioned her decision and the timing, but she used the negativity to stay focused.

She joined WMG in 2015 and although her job is demanding, she loves what she does. As a woman, and a mother to two girls, she feels it is her duty to give back by spreading the word to future generations that you can combine your career and family life successfully, sharing the fact that you don’t have to be ‘boyish’ to be an engineer.

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Dr Claire Lucas

University of Warwick

Dr Claire Lucas is an Associate Professor at the University of Warwick and a Fellow of the IMechE. Previously, she was a mathematical modelling specialist at Jaguar Land Rover carrying out modelling capability improvement projects and multi-physics modelling for attribute interactions.

As Director of Studies for Systems and Information Engineering, Claire is responsible for all teaching activity including curriculum, accreditation and student experience and delivers teaching on model-based systems engineering, active systems for vehicle dynamics and systems engineering principles.

Claire is passionate about developing a curriculum that attracts female students to Engineering through incorporation of holistic systems thinking approaches alongside traditional technological challenges. Since then, around 40% of the cohort have been female students studying a mixture of mechanical, electronics and software engineering together with data science.

Last year, she won the 2019 IET Women’s Engineering Society Prize and was shortlisted for 2019 IET Young Women Engineer of the Year for her work and efforts in diversity. She said: “Once we reach the critical mass of having women represented in engineering, it makes us better engineers. This is something I see every day as the female students on my course are brilliant and they make everybody else great around them. I can’t wait for them to start working… and do amazing things. That is why I do what I do. It is my passion that no girl will be the only girl in a group or a room and have their voice ignored.”

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More speakers will be announced shortly