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Making engineering accessible

20 March 2013

Dr Gemma Whatling from Cardiff University is joining female engineers across the UK to encourage teenage girls to consider a career in engineering.

Voices Project, launched by the Women's Engineering Society and funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, was conceived following conversations with women undergraduates about their courses and career options, and along with support from engineers will be supported by a website and poster campaign.

The poster design is based on work with girls in school year 7-10 and undergraduate engineers from four UK Universities, including Cardiff. The poster asks the viewer to look at the engineering that goes into a cupcake and highlighting the surprising connection between baking and engineering. The reverse side offers insight into the choices and experiences of women engineers. The supporting Women's Engineering Society's 'engineering girls'website will contain information and comments about subjects and choices, and links to valuable resources such as Tomorrow's Engineers.

Dr Whatling, Cardiff School of Engineering, is featured on the poster and website offering her own advice and inspiration. She is also delivering a talk to students at the Voices Project launch event in London. Dr Whatling works in the Arthritis Research UK Biomechanics and Bioengineering Centre at Cardiff University investigating how movement and forces in joints are affected by osteoarthritis.

Dr Whatling said: "I've always loved to find out how things work, even while at school I was designing and making things and thinking of ways to improve them. I love working with surgeons and physiotherapists in Wales to help understand more about the impact of surgery on a patient. Patients that I see are analysed using motion analysis, dynamic fluoroscopy (which is like video X-ray) and Image Registration, that tracks movement from specific points on the body and helps to see how joints are performing.

"In my spare time I volunteer with the Discover! Club for Girls, sharing my passion for medical engineering. We set problems like creating a device for a person with no fingers to enable them to write and pick up a cup and crisps, all of which require very different movements. It's lots of fun and gives great insights into what you can do with an engineering degree."

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