20 March 2023
Former Harrogate Ladies’ College pupil, Samy Crawford Monroy, returned to the school last week to inspire the next generation of girls to consider a career in aerospace engineering.
Samy, a final year student at the University of Leicester, returned to her former school to talk to pupils about the project she is currently working on to design, manufacture and fly an autonomous aircraft as part of her Masters degree in Aerospace Engineering.
“When I was at school my teachers encouraged and inspired me to follow my dreams of pursuing a career in the aerospace industry. I was delighted to come back therefore to help promote gender-equality in STEM based careers to the next generation”, explained Samy.
When she was in her first year at university, Samy was one of just 10 girls studying engineering out of more than 160 students.
“There is still a real shortage of girls studying engineering at university and in turn therefore, still a real shortage of girls going into engineering related careers. If we want to make a change, we need to focus on inspiring the next generation of women while they’re still at school and I’m so proud to be able to do something positive to contribute towards this,” she added.
Samy and her fellow University of Leicester students, Olivia Brown Dos Reis and Ciara Betts-Layzell attended the school as part of the Women in Science and Engineering (Wise@Hlc), Science Fair run by the school. During the Fair, Year 7 pupils presented their recent Science projects to staff and parents as part of a competition for British Science Week 2023. Samy and her fellow students shared information about their project to build an aircraft which will be entered into the Institute for Mechanical Engineering Unmanned Aircraft System Challenge.
Sue Ali, Head of Science at Harrogate Ladies’ College said,
“As a girls school we’re really proud to be leading the way in encouraging girls to develop careers in Science and Engineering. It’s really important to inspire pupils from a young age and to challenge perceptions and stereotypes, in order to enable them to embrace new opportunities. Samy and her fellow students’ experience of being on a STEM related university course where only 6% of students are female, is not uncommon. We want to play our part in changing this for future generations and having positive female role models like Samy, is incredibly important in achieving this. This doesn’t mean that all pupils will choose STEM subjects of course, but this is about raising awareness of the diversity of STEM careers available.”
The WiSE programme at Harrogate Ladies’ College is designed to encourage girls to embrace science opportunities, develop critical thinking in science and technology and rewards self-motivation in science subjects. Pupils receive WiSE Points and Awards for engaging in STEM related super-curricular activities, and for taking part in STEM related extra-curricular clubs and activities. Sixth Form pupils are encouraged to become WiSE ambassadors and to inspire younger pupils to choose STEM related subjects at GCSE and A level.