We are delighted to announce that Emily Page is the winner of the Ricardo Engineering Prize 2023. Emily is a mechanical engineering student at the University of Bath in the UK. The Ricardo Engineering Prize is awarded to the female engineering student we believe shows the most promise in technical excellence, outstanding communication and the ability to solve complex problems. We recognise that females represent 50% of available expertise, but the number of female engineers currently far from reflects this. At Ricardo, we are committed to changing this, and so each year, we offer a prize to encourage talented female engineering students to pursue a career in engineering and contribute to the future of technology to help improve global society.
Here, Emily explains what inspired her to become an engineer, shares insights about her placement at Ricardo, and how she hopes to use her engineering and design skills to advance sustainability in the future.
Congratulations on winning the award! How did you find the competition?
EP: “Thank you! I was very pleased and honoured to be offered this prize. I was put forward by my tutor at the University of Bath and I am grateful to him for his support. The process involved an assessment day for the finalists with a site tour of Ricardo’s Shoreham Technical Centre, which I found very inspiring, as it showed the history and previous accomplishments of the company. During the day the candidates had to do a presentation (and I got to listen to one which set the bar very high) and had an interview. The whole day was a positive experience, and I would like to thank Ricardo for giving me this award.”
What inspired you to study engineering?
EP: “At school I was always drawn to the science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) subjects. Like most school children I did a lot of STEM activities at school, including making the obligatory bridge out of spaghetti and marshmallows! However, I hadn’t been exposed to engineering specifically at school.”
“I did design and technology GCSE, for which my practical project was creating a hands-on game for someone with hypersensitivity. I then applied for an Arkwright engineering scholarship – the programme which is designed to inspire GCSE students to pursue their dreams and change the world as an engineer of the future. For the Arkwright scholarship, I revisited the game that I had created, and enhanced it: adding in electronics to extend its functionality and experience.”
“After a rigorous application process, I was awarded the Arkwright scholarship, and it was at that point where I thought maybe engineering was the right path for me to take.”
You’re studying engineering at the University of Bath – tell us about the experience so far
EP: “I’ve been studying at Bath for two years now and I am really enjoying the experience and learning the new modules. The fact that there is a wide variety within the course makes it particularly enjoyable: this includes lab work, design, modelling techniques using Matlab, as well as mathematical analysis.”
“I belong to the university sailing team, for which I am the sustainability officer. I was proud that I led the team to win the Platinum Award for the University Sailing Sustainability Challenge. Sustainability is so important for us all, and I wanted to move the club forward in the right direction. Working closely with the club commodore, I developed an environmental policy and looked at practical changes we could make, including energy and water conservation and ‘Check Clean Drying’ of the boats so as not to spread invasive non-native species of flora or fauna. It was such an honour that our club’s efforts were rewarded by The Green Blue.”
As part of your Ricardo Engineering Prize award, you are doing your year-in-industry placement at Ricardo. What are you working on?
EP: “Yes, all the finalists from the Engineering Prize get to do a placement at Ricardo. It’s nice that one of my fellow finalists is doing her placement at the same time as me! I started my placement in the design development team at Shoreham Technical Centre, Ricardo’s headquarters on the south coast in the UK. I am currently working as part of the team which is working on the consortium project on sustainable hydrogen powered shipping. It is very satisfying to be able to apply skills I have learned at university. We have also been given the opportunity to spend a couple hours a week on charity or STEM ambassador work. One of the charities that Ricardo is closely linked to is HoverAid. We have been helping out by providing our engineering skills in designing, manufacturing and assembling a hovercraft, to be used to distribute aid around Madagascar.”
What are your long-term career plans?
EP: “I would definitely like to continue to pursue a career in engineering in the future. It’s important to me to do a job that makes a difference and one I enjoy too. Previously, I have done an industrial placement in the nuclear sector and now I am undertaking this placement with Ricardo in the sustainable mobility sector, so I can get a good exposure to mechanical engineering in different fields. One thing I’m really keen to do is to try and help the next generation know what life is like as an engineer – whether through interviews like this or by attending early careers events. I was lucky that my dad is in the industry, and my physics teacher at school was very knowledgeable about engineering and acted as a very positive mentor to me. However, for anyone without that family background in engineering or well-informed teachers, it’s much more difficult to find trusted information about what life is like as an engineer, so I really want to do what I can to change that!”
What would your advice be to anyone thinking about entering the Ricardo Engineering Prize for 2024?
EP: “Go for it! Both for the Ricardo Engineering Prize and the Arkwright engineering scholarship. I never thought I would ever get them, but I went for them and won them! I did it, and so can you. You’ve got nothing to lose so go for it!”