An engineering idol: Emily Roebling and the Brooklyn Bridge

14 September 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Tyree Room, John Niland Scientia Building, UNSW Sydney
Portrait of Roma Agrawal

UNSW Faculty of Engineering has the pleasure of presenting world-renowned structural engineer, Roma Agrawal for a lecture on Emily Roebling and the Brooklyn Bridge. With the release of her first book, BUILT, this is an exciting opportunity to listen to the story behind one of the world's iconic bridges and how Emily Roebling made her mark in a male-dominated industry.

The lecture will run for one hour, including a Q&A at the end. 

About Emily Roebling

Rather than remain a silent companion to her engineer husband Washington Roebling, when tragedy struck, Emily took on the challenge of running the construction of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Through her own initiative, incredible resilience and unwavering tenacity, Emily delivered one of the most technologically challenging bridges of her time, in an era where women were expected to stay in the shadow of men. Hear the story of this incredible family who designed the longest bridge of its time, the first to use steel cables, in the most personally difficult circumstances to deliver an icon of New York.

About Roma Agrawal

Roma Agrawal is a structural engineer who builds big. From footbridges and sculptures, to train stations and skyscrapers – including The Shard – she has left an indelible mark on London’s landscape. She is a tireless promoter of engineering and technical careers to young people, particularly under-represented groups such as women. She has advised policymakers and governments on science education, and has given talks to thousands around the world at universities, schools and organisations including two for TEDx.

Roma has been awarded international awards for her technical prowess and success in promoting the profession, including the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering’s Rooke Award. She was awarded an MBE for services to Engineering in 2018. / @RomaTheEngineer

Engineering is a deeply creative profession that has defined our world and the way we live. We design for society and it’s crucial that our engineering workforce reflects our society, else how can we come up with the best ideas and solutions for everyone? That’s why I’m keen to promote engineering with everyone, but in particular minority groups, and smash some of the outdated stereotypes that plague our profession.

As someone who wanted to be an astronaut when younger, I’m thrilled that I found a technical career which has allowed me to give back and create real things. For anyone considering engineering as a career, in particular young girls, I say ignore the stereotypes of an engineer that exist in society! Remember that engineers design everything from skyscrapers to nano-robots and spaceships. It’s an exciting and rewarding thing to do, so just go for it.

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