Two female engineering students were celebrating today after receiving engineering awards from Ford Motor Company at the Young Women Engineer of the Year Award ceremony held in London.

Akanksha Awal (20) of London, who is studying electronics and communications engineering at London Metropolitan University received the IEng Ford WISE Prize 2004 and Helen Walkden (22) of Lancaster, a student of systems engineering at Loughborough University, accepted the CEng Ford WISE Prize. They each received a £750 cheque.

Ford Motor Company and Women Into Science and Engineering (WISE) introduced the prizes to promote the potential of engineering careers to women. It is aimed at students in their penultimate year at a UK university and is backed by the IEE, IIE and IMechE.

Entrants went through a stringent selection process where they were judged by a panel of three specialist adjudicators – Marie-Noëlle Barton of the WISE Campaign; Dr. Catherine Hobbs, head of department of mathematical sciences, Oxford Brookes University and Rachel Cowley, internal change and communications specialist from Ford Motor Company's technical centre at Dunton in Essex. Both Akanksha, who would like to pursue her career as a development engineer in the electronics industry and Helen, who sees her future as a chartered engineer working within the aerospace industry, were said by the judges to be exceptional women who not only study the discipline of engineering but are also enthusiastic and dedicated to being engineers.

Tina Bray, who co-chairs Ford's 'Engineers for the Next Generation Group' said: "Ford is proud of the part it plays in raising the awareness of science and engineering to all young people and that the Ford WISE prize is supporting those young women who have chosen to pursue a degree in a typically male-dominated subject."

Published : 20/11/04 Author : Melanie Carter

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