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Bristol engineers take the lead again

RAEng leadership winners, from left to right: Alexis Storey, Pooja Moonka, Ruth Kennedy, John Prince and Varun Sarwal

RAEng leadership winners, from left to right: Alexis Storey, Pooja Moonka, Ruth Kennedy, John Prince and Varun Sarwal

Press release issued: 15 October 2013

Following on from previous years’ successes, six engineering students from the University of Bristol have been selected as ‘inspirational role models to the next generation of engineers’ by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Brittany Harris ( Civil Engineering); Varun Sarwal ( Computer Science); Pooja Moonka ( Electrical and Electronic Engineering); Ruth Kennedy and Alexis Storey ( Engineering Mathematics) and John Prince ( Mechanical Engineering) competed in a challenging selection event against over 200 students from UK universities to win the national Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) Leadership Advanced Awards.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Dean of Engineering, speaking about the students’ success, said: “I was delighted to hear that despite strong competition from across the country our students have, once again, done so well.  Our Faculty is committed to producing the leaders and entrepreneurs of the future and the winning students are an excellent example of Britain’s rising engineering stars.”

The students have very different plans for their three-year development programme. Brittany Harris will undertake Engineers Without Borders (EWB) courses to develop her knowledge of engineering in the developing world.  She also hopes to complete a Spanish immersion course and work in India next year.

Varun Sarwal plans to use the award to attend major robotics conferences around the world, together with skills based training in intelligent systems and he would like to start a robotics society at the University.  He also intends to use the award to join non-profit NGOs in the developing world that aim at providing computer-based education to underprivileged children.

Pooja Moonka aims to use the award to enhance her language skills to work internationally and attend conferences abroad to further explore her engineering interests.  She also looks forward to meeting her professional mentor for advice and assistance that will allow her to achieve the goals set out in her personal development plan.

Alexis Storey hopes to take an intensive French language course in 2014 as an extension of the open unit she is taking in French during the next academic year. She would also like to do an internship in renewable energy in Paris in 2014 after spending her year in industry working in offshore wind.

The final winner, John Prince, intends to start an internship at IHC Engineering Business, an offshore and shipbuilding engineering company, which he hopes will open up work placement opportunities. The company have placements in Dubai, China and the USA, which fits in with his plans to learn Mandarin and he hopes to find project work for 2014 with a Californian university, such as Stanford.

The objective of the awards is to allow ambitious, inspiring engineering undergraduates, who want to become leadership role models, to undertake an accelerated personal development programme.  To achieve this, the winners receive £5,000 by the RAEng towards training and experience over a period of three years to fast track their engineering careers.

Seventy students were interviewed at the RAEng Leadership Advanced Awards selection event at Aston Business School in March. The event included rigorous activities including written tests, a selection exercise and an interview, as well as a welcome dinner.  Interviewers included Fellows of the RAEng, Sainsbury Management Fellows and Alumni of the Engineering Leadership Advanced Award Scheme.


Further information

About the Royal Academy of Engineering

Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship - comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers - provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

About the Royal Academy of Engineering Leadership Advanced Awards

The Engineering Leadership Advanced Awards provide motivation and support for some of the most exceptional engineering undergraduates in British universities, with the potential for high-level industrial leadership. Awards worth up to £5,000 per student are made to provide MEng students in the second year of a four-year course or the third year of a five-year course with carefully planned training and experience over three years which would otherwise have been denied to them.

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