Dr Jessica Bohorquez, a senior consultant in our Water Practice team, based in Adelaide, Australia has won the Jo Elgood Award for Inspiring Woman in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) at the Ricardo Leading Lights 2023.
Jo Elgood was a renowned engineer at Ricardo who was a passionate and eloquent advocate for representing female technical professionals in the workplace and helping to inspire the next generation of young engineers to pursue a STEM career. It is therefore entirely fitting that the award named in her honour now recognises the talented women at Ricardo like Jess Bohorquez who carry on Jo’s legacy of supporting, nurturing and inspiring their colleagues and future STEM professionals alike.
Jess Bohorquez supports Ricardo’s hydraulic modelling capability and has participated in concept design of water infrastructure and water systems operation projects. The giving of the Jo Elgood Award for Inspiring Woman in STEM to Jess, is a recognition of the stellar year she has delivered in being an ambassador for STEM careers for the water industry on the international stage. Jess is currently a Superstar of STEM: one of 60 diverse brilliant scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians chosen for an elite programme by Science & Technology Australia to step into the media spotlight as a STEM expert and visible role model, helping inspire the next generation of diverse young Australians into technical careers in order to boost the national economy and enable the country to meet the growing demand for STEM-trained workers.
As a Superstar of STEM Jess supported the Australian element of Ricardo’s corporate STEM Charity Programme, helping to connect the company with charity partner, Dream Big, and exploring ways for our teams in Australia to accomplish their STEM goals.
Finally, Jess was selected to act as a Junior Rapporteur for the prestigious World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, representing Ricardo, Australia, STEM and the water industry at the event. World Water Week is a renowned international event focusing on global water issues, organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). The event typically takes place annually in Stockholm, Sweden, bringing together experts, practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and representatives from various sectors to discuss and address the world's most pressing water-related challenges. World Water Week provides a platform for participants to exchange ideas, showcase innovations, and explore solutions to issues related to water scarcity, water quality, water management, sanitation, and sustainable water use.
Throughout World Water Week, Jess was honoured to have been commissioned to act as a junior rapporteur. Describing the role and what it entails Jess said: “The role of a Junior Rapporteur at the World Water Week conference is an important and engaging position that offers young professionals, students, and early-career individuals the opportunity to actively participate in the event's discussions and contribute to the reporting and documentation of key insights, outcomes, and recommendations. The Junior Rapporteur programme is designed to give aspiring water professionals a unique experience to immerse themselves in the conference's activities, interact with experts and participants, and help capture the essence of the event.”
Jess’s daily updates from the event which she published on LinkedIn, truly provided global perspective and championed collaboration and knowledge-sharing among a diverse range of stakeholders, all of whom were interested in water-related issues.
When Jess was first announced as a Superstar of STEM, Chris Hewitson, Director, Ricardo Australia and New Zealand made a comment that applies equally to her winning of the Jo Elgood Inspiring Woman in STEM award: “This is a wonderful testament to Jess’s professional expertise as an engineer, as well as her tremendous skills as an eloquent and engaging communicator of how technology can be utilised to better understand and improve our natural and lived environments. Addressing climate change is our global society’s biggest challenge right now, and it is so important that Jess can act as a high profile and charismatic role model to inspire the next generation of engineers - and future ‘superstars’ to pursue a career that will help to create a safe and sustainable world for the future.”
Based in Adelaide, Jess was unable to make the journey to the UK to attend the Leading Lights ceremony, but instead was delighted to receive her award from Rachel White, Global President of Clean Energy and Environmental Solutions on her recent visit to the teams in Australia.
Summing up what her award meant to her, Jess said: “The nomination came as a bit of a surprise! I am honoured to be considered an inspiration in Women in STEM (especially after learning about the other amazing women who are up for the award). It is a boost of energy to continue with different initiatives I am part of and hopefully keep inspiring young professionals!”