Zoe George, currently studying a doctorate in formulation engineering at the University of Birmingham, writes about her experiences at the Women’s Engineering Society’s 2013 conference, entitled Harnessing the Energy.
I first heard about Harnessing the Energy - the WES Conference 2013 through the society itself, as I am a volunteer. I have attended a few events in the past, which I have really enjoyed and gained a lot of information from. I decided to attend the conference as it is a great place to meet likeminded women to network and also for me to gain knowledge about engineering sectors I was keen to learn about.
The event featured technical talks around obtaining energy through various methods and taking into account the present and future status of the energy sector. The talks were presented by women from different companies and universities and covered a variety of topics.
Other talks were also done simultaneously which covered non-technical areas such as how to become a STEM ambassador and inspire young women and information on how to get involved in giving input to technical pages on Wikipedia.
My highlights from the day included seeing women from different companies and universities give short talks on the current research they were contributing to.
The speakers covered a wide range of topics and each person was very passionate about their research, which came across in their presentations. After some of the technical talks there were also discussions and it was interesting to see different viewpoints being given, and as I was not familiar with this sector I learnt a lot.
I gained a lot from attending the conference as I met a lot of research students and graduates around my age who were from different universities - it gave me a great opportunity to network and make new friends. I also had the opportunity to meet women who were working in the energy sector and to learn more about the roles they contribute to the industry.
As the topic of energy is currently at a major focal point in the news, it allowed me to learn a lot more about the ways companies and researchers are investigating new, cheaper alternatives to energy and how to change public attitudes towards new methods of harnessing energy.
Most of the technical topics I had not been familiar with before attending so coming to the conference really helped me to learn a lot more about the industry and current developments which I could also share with other people who may also not know much about the topic.
Having also attended some of the non-technical talks, I learnt about using Wikipedia as a tool to share technical ideas. The talk brought up really interesting points on ways to edit Wikipedia and how it can be used as a useful tool. I would have never really considered editing Wikipedia before attending the talk, but going along really helped to give me ideas about how I could I get involved and ways to connect my ideas through the Internet.
The conference day was really fun and presented a great opportunity to meet lots of talented women engineers and scientists. WES is a great support for all women in the STEM field and organise some great events for women from STEM backgrounds to come together. I would highly recommend everyone to attend future conferences as it is an extremely insightful day which you will not regret attending.