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Shard designer inspires UCLan staff

28 November 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

Roma Agrawal discusses design, science and equality

Award winning engineer and designer of London’s infamous Shard building Roma Agrawal has visited the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to share her passion for design, science and equality.

Roma is a celebrated associate structural engineer from WSP who spent six years working on the Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe. She spoke at UCLan’s annual Diversity Conference which this year looked at gender in higher education and how the university can be more inclusive in work and study.

Roma, the Engineering Excellence Award winner 2014 and Women in Construction winner 2014, commented: “Engineering and science careers are creative, varied and hugely rewarding. It breaks my heart when I see that the unhelpful and untrue stereotypes surrounding my profession are putting off young people, especially girls, from considering careers in STEM.

“We need more engineers and scientists and we need more people from minorities in the industry so that the amazing things we design serve our society well.”

Helen Jones, UCLan Human Resources Leadership and Development Manager, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Roma to UCLan. She is a great ambassador for women working not only in engineering but for women working in traditionally male dominated roles. Roma is also passionate about inspiring young people to consider engineering as a viable career choice which is high on UCLan’s agenda.”

"I am delighted to be part of the event at UCLan and offer my congratulations on the Athena SWAN Bronze award."

The staff event comes after UCLan was awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze Award in September. A prestigious educational chartermark, Athena SWAN recognises a commitment to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine in higher education and research. The award also highlights that UCLan has a good proportion of women at professor and senior management level and has flexible working policies.

Roma added: “I am delighted to be part of the event at UCLan and offer my congratulations on the Athena SWAN Bronze award.”

The conference also looked at how gender affects personal identity, how thriving in a traditionally gendered environment takes a variety of skills, resilience and ambition and how students’ perspectives on gender have evolved. Alison Jones, the CEO of the Leadership Foundation which aims to develop and improve the management and leadership skills of existing and future leaders of higher education, also spoke at the event.