CIWEM members recognised in WES Top 50 Women in Engineering 2021 awards

CIWEM members Dr Maria Sunyer Pinya and Professor Jane Rickson have been honoured in the roll call for the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Top 50 Women in Engineering (WE50) 2021: Engineering Heroes awards.

Now in their sixth year, the awards celebrate women who have improved engineering in service of our society, with judges this year highlighting that the standard of the nominations – of which there were more than 230 – were extremely high.

The annual celebration is aligned with the campaign International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) which takes place on the 23rd June and is also co-ordinated by WES.

Dr Pinya is a senior climate change consultant at Arup with more than a decade’s experience in the field of climate change. Her area of expertise is on climate change resilience, she has worked across different sectors and geographies to assess climate change impacts and develop strategies to enhance resilience. She focuses on helping communities and organisations to prepare for climate change impacts – an area which needs more focus as highlighted in the Third UK Climate Change Risk Assessment.

On her win she said: “I am delighted to be named as one of the Top50 women in engineering by the Women in Engineering Society. This year WE50 has focused on engineers who perform every day ‘heroics’ as well as engineers who respond to emergencies, such as the climate emergency.

“I am honoured to have been recognised for my work on climate change. It is only thanks to the encouragement and support from great teachers, mentors and colleagues that I am now working on STEM and helping to address the climate challenge."

Professor Rickson is professor of soil erosion and conservation at the Cranfield Soil and Agrifood Institute and has over 30 years’ experience of research, consultancy and teaching in soil and water engineering, specialising in soil degradation processes and sustainable land management. Her areas of expertise cover carbon, climate and risk, environmental policy, natural capital, soil resources, water science and engineering.

On her win she said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded this accolade. I hope I can show by example that engineering is an exciting and rewarding career choice for young women (and men).

“We need to continue to break the often stereotypical image of ‘the engineer’, so that the profession is seen to be much more inclusive, diverse and welcoming to anyone with an interest in designing, building, testing and improving any aspect of the world around us.”

As in 2020, the Women’s Engineering Society will be presenting the WE50 Awards virtually this year at an event taking place today (June 23rd).

Head judge professor Catherine Noakes OBE CEng FIMechE FIHEEM said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how truly important science, technology and engineering are to the health of our planet. The 2021 WE50 personify the inventive and inclusive thinking needed to build a sustainable future. If there was ever a time that we needed these heroes in engineering, it is now.”

Commenting CIWEM head of membership and professional standards Sophie Dunajko said:

“INWED celebrates the amazing work that women engineers, from around the world, undertake on a daily basis. At CIWEM our vision is to create a safer and sustainable world for everyone and the work of our members supporting lives and livelihoods across the world is inspirational.

"It’s wonderful to see the fantastic work of CIWEM members recognised and celebrated as Engineering Heroes for the WES Top 50 Women in Engineering 2021. Congratulations to Dr Maria Sunyer Pinya and Professor Jane Rickson!”

If you are interested in becoming a CIWEM member or moving on to the next stage of your existing CIWEM membership, visit our dedicated membership page today.

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