Letitia Wright with Shell Eco-marathon students (Left to right: Shaniyaa Holness-Mckenzie, Hannah Clark, Letitia Wright, Kim Everett and Olga Posopkina Letitia Wright with Shell Eco-marathon students (Left to right: Shaniyaa Holness-Mckenzie, Hannah Clark, Letitia Wright, Kim Everett and Olga Posopkina) – Credit: BP

Engineering Real-life Heroes

On Monday (25 June), Shell launched a commendable online film — Engineering Real-life Heroes — as part of their annual #makethethefuture campaign to inspire the next generation of innovators. The film aims to shift current perceptions of STEM subjects and help reduce entry barriers to the sector for young people — young women in particular.

The representation of women in the UK within technical fields compares poorly with the rest of Europe – idling around 23% of the STEM workforce. As Dr Larissa Suzuki — the 2017 WES Young Engineer Award winner — recently highlighted, one of the main reasons for this low entry rate is the scarcity of visible role models in the profession for women.

“We know about the contributions of Gates, Jobs, and Zuckerberg, but we rarely hear about the contributions made by women”, Larissa discussed.

About the Film

Engineering Real-life Heroes aims to tackle the lack of role models, showcasing the stories of four female engineering students from diverse backgrounds preparing for Shell’s 34thAnnual Eco-marathon — a global competition for students to design, build and drive ultra—energy efficient vehicles.

The competition provides an example of how to encourage students to have fun with engineering and to translate the things they learn into something practical. The current competition record stands at 3,771km/l, the equivalent of driving from London to Rome and back using just one litre of fuel.

In this endeavour, Shell aims to both demonstrate the possibilities available in a STEM career and to emphasize the importance of diversity in producing creative solutions to existing problems.

The film delves into the students’ motivations for wanting to become STEM leaders in the future and features both breakout star Letitia Wright — whose recent on-screen characters have sparked a worldwide interest in STEM among adolescents; and Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE – a social entrepreneur, the co-founder of STEMettes, and the youngest girl ever — at just 11 years old — to pass A-level computing.

Letitia Wright, when explaining the importance of role models, mentioned her strong belief that “you have to see something in order for you to understand you can do it.”

“That’s why I’m thrilled that I got to tell the stories of these incredibly talented young women, who are real-life embodiments of what STEM really is about. It would mean a lot to me if a girl could watch this film and think they too could do what these young women do.”

Next Week, Shell’s free Make the Future Live festival will take place in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London from 5-8 July.