Graduate named Young Woman Engineer of the Year

Bath graduate Bijal Thakore was announced the winner of the Women's Engineering Society (WES) prize for her service in the engineering sector at a recent prestigious award ceremony.

Bijal, who graduated with an Aerospace Engineering degree from Bath in 2005, was overjoyed when she was awarded the prize at the Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2008 event, organised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

She said: "Young people - both men and women alike - are contributing to advancing engineering, science and technology in our society in more ways than ever before and are moving engineering away from the professional stereotypes.

"Being recognised for this is a great honour. I love waking up every day to solve challenges for LEGO's B2B applications team that combines solutions in engineering, technology as well as social behaviour and hence, being able to break the traditional ways in which different sectors operate."

Bijal received a trophy plus a cheque for £500.

The 27-year-old's unstoppable energy for her work has presented ample opportunities, landing her a placement with Rolls-Royce Defence whilst she was studying at the University.

At Rolls-Royce, she worked for various teams - Fleet and Service, Future Projects Office and a year long attachment with the Adour Mk 951 Jet Engine Experimentation Team.

Her career took a flying start at AIRBUS, working as a Composite Research Trainee Engineer. There, Bijal designed and analysed composite parts for the A-38 aircraft. She even compiled a familiarisation course and technical manual for new entrants.

Other roles included working as a teaching associate and researcher at the prestigious International Space University in Strasbourg, France, where she lectured whilst working on space applications and planetary robotic systems.

She briefly worked for X Prize Foundation, where she researched economic incentives that would result in adequate technological solutions to water scarcity and poverty, and received recognition for her outstanding contribution.

She is now Client Development Officer and Technical Consultant for LEGO Business Works at LEGO Systems in Denmark. This involves developing technical solutions and focusing on 'technology intensive' sectors for a company that is traditionally regarded as non-technical. She helps companies in the aerospace, energy, and telecom sectors to understand engineering processes and how to drive efficiency by 3D modelling with LEGO bricks. She also looks at the future systems of Robotics at LEGO.

Her achievements go way beyond her technical skills. Bijal completed the half marathon in Strasbourg in one and a half hours, and is set to cycle from Vietnam to Cambodia in eight days in February 2010. She also loves travelling, playing sports, painting and building robots. But a hobby that will remain close to her heart is making technical engineering knowledge accessible to the public.

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