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June 23rd 2016

Published by The Ragworm Girls, Stacey Driver and Stephanie Driver

If you head into a school and ask a handful of children, whether primary or secondary, who Thomas Edison or Alexander Graham Bell were, it’s likely they will all know what these engineers are famous for. Some will be able to tell you their full history and describe what accomplishes they made throughout their life. However, the chances are these school children would not be able to name a single female engineer.

Women have long played a significant role in engineering, many overcoming discrimination to bring some of the most significant advances to the field. Women have made and continue to make outstanding engineering contributions to society.

National Women in Engineering Day (#NWED2016) is an International awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry. The Ragworm Girls and the team here at HQ are delighted to be involved in NWED2016 this year!

Throughout our travels we have been fortunate to meet and work with a number of hugely inspiring women. Today gives us a platform to share their stories with you in the hope of inspiring many more women to take the plunge into the crazy and utterly fulfilling world of Engineering and Tech!

Dr Lucy Rogers:

Dr Lucy Rogers has a number of accolades to her name and is continuously adding to her list of adventures. Most us only have one answer to the common question – “What do you do for a living?” but not Rogers, whose response is; ‘ I play with robot dinosaurs, and when not doing that I am working out the probability of spacecraft getting hit by space debris, and I turn science into plain English.” Certainly impressive isn’t it, but it doesn’t stop there. Lucy was also an associate lecturer at Oxford Brooks University teaching foundation electronics as well as becoming a published author with “It’s ONLY Rocket Science: An Introduction in Plain English”

Lucy added; “I think that making engineering more accessible to everybody is a good thing. Whether I am appealing to men, women, girls or boys it doesn’t really matter. I want people to see me doing it and realise that engineering doesn’t have to be about climbing under a car or going down a coal mine – it can be playing with robot dinosaurs, it can be playing with space, it can be getting things to do what we want them to do.”

Siobhan Nichofaigh – Mint Tek Circuits

A fellow hardware enthusiast and devoted contributor to the manufacturing industry, the Ragworm Girls have been following Siobhan’s journey with Mint Tek Circuits closely. Inspiring on many levels, Siobhan is the CEO of Mint Tek Circuits, a company developed to support the hardware prototype ecosystem; a message very close to our heart here at HQ.

We contacted Siobhan to tell us a little about her journey into Tech and Engineering; here is what she had to say – “When I was 5 or 6 my Dad bought me a ladybird book about the scientist Marie Curie. It did two great things - it made me never, ever question women’s ability to be successful in science and engineering and, that careers’ in science could be kind of cool. Let’s face it, Marie Curie discovered something that saved lives and they wrote books about her.

Electronics in the 80’s was the big engineering subject and that’s where I have spent my tech time.

I am delighted to see the resurgence of Hardware development. In Mint Tek Circuits, my Co-Founder Georgina and I strive to make life easier for hardware developers to buy and build prototypes. We support women in technology by being in it and supporting younger engineers. My argument always is that together women and men design and build better devices.”

Anne-Marie Imafidon - STEMettes:

Anne-Marie Imafidon is a woman on a mission. A child prodigy who had received degrees from prestigious universities on both sides of the Atlantic by the time she was 20, she is campaigning to get more women into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

When we spoke with Anne Marie about NWED2016 she stated; “My passion is technology because I love the creativity and possibilities. I’m so proud of how it’s been able to change and evolve all parts of our lives and the potential technology has to solve problems.”

Anne-Marie is Head STEMette and Co-Founder of STEMettes – an award-winning social enterprise inspiring the next generation of females into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics roles via a series of events and opportunities. In 3 years 7,000 girls across the UK, Ireland and Europe have had attended STEMette experiences. As part of the initiative she has also co-founded Outbox Incubator: the world’s first tech incubator for teenage girls.

Rachel Lancaster – CPC

Rachel is fast becoming a household name in the coding and maker family. She finds and creates exciting STEAM educational products that budding Makers, Coders and Creators can use. She also supports local STEM events and projects.

A well-known social media influencer Rachel helps spread the maker love across the community and shares her journey along the way. We got in touch with Rachel and asked her to share her thoughts with us;

“I am fairly new to computing and coding, we never really covered it when I was at school, and it was only by chance that I got involved. I was hooked when I witnessed first-hand what it could do to young minds. Passions develop from an early age and these passions can influence decisions at higher education. It has been the most rewarding time of my career, working with the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Preston College in bringing STEM to such a young audience.

The Raspberry Pi, the BBC Micro:bit, and CodeBug – all here to inspire, inform and to amaze! It’s difficult to not get swept up in the enthusiasm. Rachel continued; “These are exciting times and we can only imagine what technology can do in the next 50 years and the next generation of women will be at its heart.

“Rachel is certainly one to watch as we journey further into the heart of Tech and Making in the coming years; a rising star in this flourishing industry.”

Emma Dowling – My Octopus.

Emma is the CMO of My Octopus, a creative smart home platform, a multi-tool, which is fully open source, affording full control of data, devices and options to the user.

Emma brings flexibility and a diverse skillset to the My Octopus team; including cultural insight, technical understanding and creative overview. Dubbed by Larry (Founder) described her as “Our Digital Anthropologist”, Emma prefers to see it as understanding of the interaction between daily life, technology and culture.

We chatted with Emma and she explained:

“As an archaeologist converting into the tech/IOT/Hardware sector The inspirational women that I have encountered in engineering and tech have encouraged and inspired me to keep going and keep moving forward.”

Emma continued, “It always motivates and excites me to see women, especially young women getting involved, and being at the centre of open source initiatives. A particular inspiration of mine is Jennifer Arcuri from My Hacker House and Alexandra Deschamps from IoT watch.”

When questioned about how she felt about herself being viewed as an inspiration we got the feeling that she was a bit taken aback – “Oh wow, I have been involved with MyOctopus for less than a year – it is interesting to think of myself as an inspiration. I hope that I am encouraging young women to follow their dreams, to feel free to stand up and speak, to get out there and to create.”

Emma’s final notes in our conversation displayed to us her passion for this industry; “Every woman who steps forward is encouraging countless women, young women and girls. So, Ladies in Engineering please keep going and keep jumping into that limelight.”

The list of Inspiring Women in this sector goes on but here at HQ we hope that the stories we have shared with you today excite you and push you to take that step and find out more. Following the journeys that these influential women are on motivates us here at HQ every day. There is no end to the excitement and diversity we can all enjoy through a career in Tech!

If you want to find out more about the amazing opportunities that surround you then please contact the team here at HQ. We are on hand to support our community and look forward to speaking with you all soon!

Happy Creating!

With Love

The Ragworm Team

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