Magnificent Women (and their flying machines) Launch Event at Alton Convent School, Hampshire

Press invitation to attend event: Inspiring Women into Technology & Engineering: WES launches outreach programme for Schools
June 13th 2014, Alton, Hampshire
Celebrating the pioneers of the past : inspiring the innovators of the future
From the First World War to the present day
On 13 June 2014 Alton Convent School in Hampshire will be the first school to run the outreach programme delivered by the Women's Engineering Society to celebrate the work that women did during the First World War in manufacturing aircraft wings. This activity will involve the replication of the aircraft wing manufacture followed by a look at the 100 year since the First World War and the pioneering work done by women in the aviation/aerospace sectors, and the day will finish with a speed networking event where the girls will hear from some of today's role model women engineers.  
Government initiative 'Your Life' - inspiring school girls to pursue STEM careers  * 95 years of WES * Celebrating female engineers during the First World War * National launch WES outreach programme * First case study example * Innovative, progressive inter-school and local community partnership.
Location: Alton Convent School, Anstey Lane, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 2NG
Contact: Dawn Bonfield CEng, MIMMM, FWES , Vice-President Women's Engineering Society
Tel: 01438 76550601438 765506     e-mail:
To express interest/confirm attendance:
Fiona Hopkinson, Development Officer, Alton Convent School
Tel: 01420 8207001420 82070         e-mail:  
Interview Opportunities
WES Vice-President Dawn Bonfield CEng, FWES
Jessica Leigh Jones - In 2012 Jessica became the first female to win the UK Young Engineer of the Year Award for designing a portable electronic foetal contraction monitor in conjunction with Cardiff-based company Huntleigh Healthcare diagnostics. After developing a more versatile fibre optic sensor she was awarded the 2012 IET Intel Inspiration Award for Entrepreneurship. Jessica has patent pending status for this technology and is currently attempting to commercialise it.
Jessica's background lies in electronics but she is currently reading Astrophysics at Cardiff University. Her main research interests include fibre optics and LASER technology.
Jessica is employed as a Research Associate for Morgan-Botti Lightning Laboratory in the Cardiff University School of Engineering. The lab generates artificial lightning using electrical currents of up to 200,000A (more than 30,000 times the amount used to power a kettle!). The lab's main research interests include investigating the direct-effects of lightning currents on aerospace materials and components, and contributing to the safety of new aircraft designs.
In her spare time Jessica likes to train at her local Shotokan Karate club. Discipline is an important aspect of her work and personal life. When the weather's great she also likes to go out observing with her optical telescope.
Other attendees: Thirty five 14/15 year old female physicists; a recent female graduate in aerospace engineering from Surrey University; an undergraduate mechanical engineer from Bath University currently on placement at a local business, with her award-winning rocket and rocket kit; an aspiring formula one engineer in the sixth form - she has already been selected for the prestigious Headstart engineering programme; a female life scientist specialising in air crew safety and two retired female aerospace engineers from Farnborough Air Sciences Trust museum.
School Headmaster, Graham Maher: Recently drove 8000 kilometres in 9 days passing through 9 countries to his end destination in North Cape, whilst undertaking simple experiments. His goal was to raise funds to upgrade the school's science laboratories. Pupils from the age of 9 will have regular timetabled lessons in the laboratories, however even 6 and 7 year olds will have lessons in the laboratories. The objective is to inspire and excite the children about science as young as possible. The school runs a gifted and talented programme with 3 partner primary schools.  
Visual Opportunities
•    A selection of 4- 6ft aircraft wings constructed by the pupils.
•    Bath undergraduate with her space school rocket kit and rocket.
•    Pupils testing the wind tunnel model
•    Pupils trying on and exploring the safety suits and helmets.
•    35 14/15 year old female physicists from three schools, immersing themselves in the world of engineering.
•    Images of Amy Johnson, Dorothee Pullinger, Helen Sharman, Anne Burns or Valentina Tereshkova.
•    Sky diving assistant head Sally Webb (the lengths the school has gone to promote science, the Headmaster also trekked to the Arctic, and a nun will be cycling 100 miles)
The future economic health and global competitiveness of the UK is jeopardised by the significant annual shortfall of 40,000 engineers and technologists. This is even more pronounced when looking at females, who currently represent only 1% of UK engineering professionals
The soon to be launched UK government compact has outlined the need for effective collaboration between educators, industry and government to redress this imbalance. The Women's Engineering Society's schools outreach programme provides an innovative, progressive and scalable example of a community and industry partnership to inspire the next generation of female engineers.
The onset of the First World War created opportunities for females in traditionally male domains, most notably aviation engineering. Once the war was over there was increasing pressure for these women to leave the workforce to release jobs for men returning from the forces. WES was founded 95 years ago in 1919 not only to resist this pressure, but also to promote engineering as a rewarding job for women as well as men.
Despite 100 years passing and a number of eminent female engineers and scientists, the disparity still exists. WES is launching a nation-wide outreach programme to promote careers in engineering, science and technology. The theme for the workshops will be aviation and aerospace engineering in recognition of the inspirational female engineers during the First World War.
The offering addresses aspiring female scientists aged 14/15 prior to A-level selection.
The programme has received funding from the Royal Aeronautical Society's Centennial Grant and an Ingenious Grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering.
The programme is an innovative, progressive inter-school and local community partnership seeking to inspire the female scientists, engineers and technologists of tomorrow's world.
Twenty one Year 10 physicists from Alton Convent School and fourteen gifted and talented female physicists from two local schools will also be participating, as will three local organisations.
The workshop provides the pupils with the opportunity construct aircraft wings of up to 6ft in size. The session will also include the demonstration and study of a working wind tunnel model, an award-winning rocket and aviation safety equipment. The aspiring scientists will also research and present or produce a role play on leading female scientists and engineers over the past 100 years.
The school
The launch will take place at Alton Convent School a leading independent school in Hampshire currently celebrating its 75th year. The school is co-educational from 6 months - 11 years and girls only to 18.
The school's anniversary appeal is focused on science, along with fundraising to upgrade the science laboratories; the school is committed to creating awareness and excitement about science within the school and local community. Three local organisations and aspiring female scientists from two other schools and are also involved.
ACS is also running a series of inspirational speaker sessions from the world of science, which includes Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell FRS FRAS and the Royal Institute. The WES workshop will be an annual event, with different themes for each subsequent year. The programme will also be supported by site visits, careers talks and work experience opportunities.
The preparatory and senior schools will also be building and racing their own cars in the next academic year.
One of the school's sixth formers is currently on track to fulfil her dream of becoming a formula one engineer, by securing a place on the prestigious Headstart engineering programme.
To mark the school's anniversary a range of fundraising activities have taken place, including a sky diving assistant head, the Head voyaging to the Arctic; and a retired physics teacher who is also a nun, has committed to cycling 100 miles over 3 days. The children have also joined in including one pupil committing to ascending 75 peaks, an 8 year old boy cycling 14 miles and sponsored bounce for the babies!
Agenda - Friday 13th June
8.50am -10.50am - Pupils construct aircraft wings using stixx - (4ft - to 6ft in size).
10.50am -11.10am - break
11.10am -1.10pm - Research and present back on famous engineers and scientists from the past 100 years. (may present as role play, traditional presentation).
1.10pm - 2.10pm - Lunch
2.10pm - 3.10pm - Speaker/Interactive session
Female engineers from Farnborough RAF Museum with working wind tunnel model.
Female life scientist QinetiQ - air safety equipment - helmet, suits, centrifuge video.
University of Bath undergraduate - mechanical engineer - with rocket kit and award-winning rocket.
3.10pm - 4.10pm Speech from Jessica Leigh Jones followed by a reception. Dawn Bonfield, Vice President WES will be attending, along with young scientists/engineers from the school alumni.