Parsons Brinckerhoff offer new Women in Engineering Scholarship

New Women in Engineering Scholarship

Professor Graham Davies and Mr Guy Templeton In another fantastic initiative to encourage more women to study engineering we are thrilled to announce the new Parsons Brinckerhoff Women in Civil and Environmental Engineering Scholarship.

This scholarship is designed to encourage and assist a female student to undertake a degree in either Civil or Environmental Engineering. The generous award will be offered to a high school leaver in 2015 and is worth a total of $40,000 over four years.

The sponsorship agreement signing ceremony was held on the 13 November 2014 and was attended by Parsons Brinckerhoff President and Chief Operating Officer Asia-Pacific and UNSW alumnus, Guy Templeton; Development Director UNSW, Stephen Wooldridge; and presided over by the Dean of Engineering, Professor Graham Davies.

“Encouraging more women to study engineering is a central mission of the Faculty and we have set an ambitious target of 25% of female enrolments by 2020,” Graham said. To achieve this target Graham has implemented a number of initiatives including hiring a Women in Engineering Manager for the Faculty and reaching out to industry and companies such as Parsons Brinckerhoff for support.

Readdressing the balance

Graham is unequivocal in his reasons for readdressing the balance. “The simple fact is that women make great engineers. They are excellent communicators, great team players, first-rate problem solvers and I cannot think of any job in engineering that women cannot do.”

For Guy, the scarcity of women in engineering is a huge bugbear. “What we find in industry is that there is a huge bias towards men, for no good reason,” he said. “It is a sad indictment on the industry and we need to positively intervene to correct the position.”

Women in Engineering Manager, Dr Alex Bannigan, is thrilled to be given the challenge of increasing female enrolments in the Faculty. “Sponsorships and partnerships with industry are a huge part of this so we are very grateful to Parsons Brinckerhoff for their support,” Alex said. “But this is only one of the exciting programs we currently have running.”

Alex is responsible for the Women in Engineering Camp for high school students in years 11 and 12, applications for which tripled this year compared to last year; a range of support and development programs for female engineering students at UNSW; and she spends a considerable amount of time visiting schools to promote engineering as a top career choice for girls.  

“The interest is definitely out there which I find very encouraging,” Alex said. “Just exposing girls to the kind of jobs engineers have and the work they do makes them very excited.” The great news is that these initiatives are working. In the last year alone first year female enrolments have jumped from 20-22%.

Building linkages and long lasting relationships with industry

The event also provided an excellent opportunity to officially thank Parsons Brinckerhoff for their continued and loyal support of engineering at UNSW. This top engineering firm has supplied over $300,000 in scholarships to UNSW Civil and Environmental Engineering students since 2007 and, in addition, offered a considerable number of industrial training placements to engineering students during summer vacation periods.

“We are so honoured to have built and established this long lasting relationship and true partnership with Parsons Brinckerhoff which has worked well for a considerable amount of time.” Graham said.

Guy added that the relationship with UNSW was just as important from the perspective of industry and is thrilled to be able to offer the sponsorship. “Linkages between industry and universities are really important and they don’t happen unless people like Graham reach out. We have an exceptionally high regard for UNSW and Parsons Brinckerhoff is very lucky to benefit from the high calibre of students that come our way.”




Share this