Posted Thursday 22 August 2019
A Kingston University student who secured her place through Clearing is hoping the award of a prestigious Santander Universities STEMship will act as a launch pad for a career in space engineering.
Taylor Baugh has been selected as one of 30 beneficiaries of the inaugural STEMships programme, launched by Santander UK to support female engineering students at universities across the country. It aims to help more women embark on a career in the engineering industry and tackle the skills shortage currently facing the sector.
The 26 year old from Hackney, who is just about to start the second year of her aerospace engineering, astronautics and space technology course, left school at 16 and went to work in the creative industries. But after deciding to return to education in her 20s, she took an intensive A-level course and applied to several universities.
"I've always been interested in space. I had worked in several roles, assisting videographers and sign writing, but decided I wanted to follow my passion for space and engineering," she said. "Unfortunately, I didn't do as well as I'd hoped in my exams and ended up in Clearing. After speaking to Kingston, I was offered a place on the foundation course and it's been absolutely the right decision for me. The foundation year helped build my confidence and I'm really glad I came here."
It was Taylor's dedication to her studies and involvement in a range of extra-curricular activities in her foundation and first year, such as taking part in an Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Tinkering Event competition at the University, which led to her being put forward for the STEMship award.
The two-year support programme will provide a £1,500 scholarship as well as overseas experience at a leading engineering institution, access to networking events with prominent female leaders in the industry and membership of the Women's Engineering Society, along with further mentoring and internship opportunities.
"I'm really interested in the development of materials and processes - we need to cut back on the use of non-recyclable plastics and find new and lighter materials," she said. "There's so much changing in the space industry right now and I love the idea of working abroad in the industry. I've been in London all my life so I want to gain global experience, learn new languages, and I hope this STEMship programme will help open up doors for me. I feel very lucky to have this opportunity and I'm determined not to waste it."
Professor Necip Sahinkaya, head of the department of mechanical engineering at Kingston University, put Taylor forward for the STEMship after being impressed by her work ethic and commitment.
"Taylor has worked very hard and done extremely well in both in her foundation and first year. She has a clear passion for engineering and has been one of the top students on the course. Her involvement in the IMechE competition shows how engaged she is, putting in the time outside of her studies to develop her understanding and skills. We want to see more female engineers going on to make a difference in industry and we hope this STEMship will help Taylor do just that."
Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK, said: "We're thrilled to be launching our unique STEMships to support and inspire the next generation of women engineers from across the UK. Having worked closely with Formula Student teams across our partner universities, we recognise the challenges facing female engineering students as they look to embark on careers in the industry. We hope the programme will support them with their career ambitions."