These are the first awards to focus solely women in the technology sector and highlight the work of up-and-coming female tech talent.
Helen’s interest in technology started early, when she received a Year in Industry placement at an iron foundry in her home town of Lincoln. At Cambridge, she studied Manufacturing Engineering before moving on to work in the field of plastic manufacture, becoming a Chartered Engineer in 2014. The following year she won the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Women’s Engineering Society Prize, in recognition of her work to engage and inspire young people into STEM careers.
For over ten years, Helen has worked with local schools, from delivering STEM careers presentations to whole year groups and organising maths competitions to running practical workshops on subjects as diverse as building bridges from paper, replicating solar eclipses and making prototype Mars Rovers. “I strive to inspire a wide range of ages but particularly like to focus on primary school students – being a positive STEM role model and trying to dispel stereotypes before they have a chance to negatively influence career choices,” she says.
Now Helen works at TTP Labtech Ltd. in Herts, developing instrumentation for pharmaceutical research. She specialises in the area of liquid handling technology, supporting the design and manufacture of nano-pipettes capable of transferring as little as 50 non-litres of liquid at high speed.
Helen says, “The varied experience across all different engineering disciplines that I gained through the Cambridge Engineering Tripos has been a brilliant grounding for working in a hi-tech multi-disciplinary role. I am very pleased to be able to represent manufacturing industries in the TechWomen50 Awards, as people can wrongly associate technology roles with just sitting in front a computer by yourself all day. As a manufacturing engineer, my job involves a much wider range of skills and activities, with people skills being crucial.”
Despite being the first year the TechWomen50 awards were given, over 500 nominations were received across the UK. A panel of 20 leading industry figures came up with a shortlist of 100, which was put to a public vote. Over 15,000 public votes were received to determine the winners.
“The application process wasn’t really that bad,” says Helen. “It was nice having a public vote as part of the judging criteria – I was very touched by how much support I got from the university Engineering Department and the Institute for Manufacturing.”
Congratulations to Helen from Wolfson College. You can follow Helen on twitter @Helen_Cavill, where she often tweets about STEM engagement.