Mariapia Angelino

Mariapia Angelino | WSP

Mariapia Angelino

Mariapia Angelino is a civil and forensic engineer who has built an international reputation as an expert in standards for the construction industry.

She leads strategic consultancy works in the UK related to standards and policy development activities, and has been a key advisor to government departments and public clients including Highways England, National Grid and HS2.
She has shaped the future of international design standards. Heavily involved with the activities of CEN/TC 250 (the European committee responsible for the Eurocodes, structural and geotechnical design standards used worldwide), Mariapia helped build international consensus and unanimous agreement on the strategy to enhance the usability of the second generation of the Eurocodes. She is currently implementing the strategy as the sole appointed Technical Reviewer in Europe, and is enhancing the quality of documents used by over 500,000 engineers in Europe alone, with expecting savings of hundreds of millions of euros in the European construction market.

Mariapia holds two engineering degrees and an EngD. Over the last six years, she has combined her award-winning doctorate research with work on WSP projects. She led strategic consultancy work for Highways England that redeveloped over 350 standards applicable to the design, maintenance and operation of the UK strategic road network. With an expected saving of over £50m per year, this project will have a huge positive impact on everyone engaged in the design, maintenance and operation of motorways and trunk roads across UK for decades.

In 2018 alone, Mariapia passed the viva for the doctorate, attained her Chartership status through the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), was shortlisted as one of the potential candidates for the Karen Burt Award by the ICE, was shortlisted Best Consultant at the European Women in Construction and Engineering Awards, and got a promotion to the role of Principal Engineer in WSP.

She invests significant time and energy in standards and policy development activities in the UK and globally, promoting her research through papers and at conferences. She is passionate about motivating and guiding students as a teaching assistant in Structural Engineering at the University of Bristol. She mentors colleagues and client staff through career transitions and progressions, and helps them build confidence in their skills and capabilities. Her next achievement will be to become mum in May, and she is really looking forward to it.


Lorna Bennet

Lorna Bennet | Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult

Lorna Bennet

Lorna Bennet is a Mechanical Engineer for the Operational Performance team at the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, the UK’s leading technology, innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy.

She works with academics, researchers, SMEs, technology developers, manufacturers and operators to drive improvements in the operation and maintenance of offshore renewable energy assets through developing new technologies, procedures and advancing research. Working in collaboration to reduce the cost of offshore renewable energy, transforming industry and delivering UK economic benefit.

Since graduating with an honour’s degree in Product Design Engineering from the University of Glasgow in 2011, Lorna has had a varied career showing the diversity and transferable skills engineering offers. Starting in the drafting office of a structural engineering company, before being offered her first job as a Mechanical Design Engineer designing offshore lifting and handling systems. This was an intense role but provided a unique opportunity to travel the world. In 2013 she accepted a position with Pelamis Wave Power working at the cutting edge of wave power development. Moving to the aerospace industry in 2015 as a Development Engineer working to improve aeroplane engines, before finding her way back to the renewable energy industry with the ORE Catapult in June 2016.

In 2018 Lorna was given responsibility for the engineering intern recruitment in the Glasgow office and was able to almost double the number of interns by working with various charities and organisations. She has driven the development of a company STEM policy and has coordinated engagement in Glasgowand Hull. She has promoted STEM activities and cultivated an engagement strategy in collaboration with schools, local and national charities and organisations. As an enthusiastic STEM ambassador for nearly 10 years, promoting engineering and science to children, parents and teachers through a variety of projects and events.

In March 2018 she was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious Award to set up a pilot STEM engagement strategy with local primary schools in Glasgow. She has since recruited 18 new STEM Ambassadors to run the programme and developed a series of renewable energy and sustainability-related lesson plans. This dedication to promoting STEM lead to Lorna receiving the prestigious Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Young Woman Engineer of the Year Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Prize in December 2018. This is a significant honour as she is the Ambassador for WES during their centenary in 2019, and will play a key role in the 100th anniversary celebrations.


Rain Irshad

Rain Irshad | STFC RAL Space

Rain Irshad

I always knew I wanted to work in space. When I was younger, I wanted to be an astronaut and wrote to NASA. They told me what I needed to do and I started working towards those goals.

I got a Flying Scholarship with the RAF so that I could learn to fly planes. I wrote to Universities to get work experience with research groups. Eventually, I got a place at Oxford University to read Physics.

At University, I was diagnosed with endometriosis and realised I wasn't going into space. Instead I did a Master's in Instrumentation Systems at UCL where I worked on a concept for an adaptive optics x-ray space telescope and I realised that I could still explore space by sending instruments up there. I did a doctorate in Atmospheric Physics at Oxford where I learned about hardware and software development for measuring atmospheric aerosols and was able to gather data that would improve the integrity of satellite measurements from space. After that, I spent four years as a Post-Doctoral Researcher working with the Planetary Group at Oxford, and teaching in my spare time. There, I worked on everything from lab-based experiments to make the kinds of gases you find on Jupiter, to seismometers for measuring Marsquakes. I designed and patented an instrument for measuring atmospheric temperatures and that became my first instrument in space.

Eventually, I moved to RAL Space to work as a Systems Engineer and began looking at larger projects. I was the Lead Systems Engineer on a proposal for a mission measuring Exoplanets (planets orbiting other stars) which involved coordinating organisations across 13 different countries. I led a project to look at the probability of life surviving on Phobos and managed a project to develop a Highly Miniaturised Radiation Monitor for space, as well as working on other projects. I continued to work on the Martian seismometer instrument which landed on Mars in 2018 as part of NASA's InSight mission.

In 2015 I took on the role of Autonomous Systems Lead at RAL Space and managed a small team working on robotics for testing space rovers and navigation software. I realised that this technology could be adapted for other applications. After travelling to Cambodia on holiday, I realised that there was still a major problem with landmines across the globe and proposed a system for autonomous landmine sensing using our robotic technology in South East Asia. I was awarded funding through the Global Challenges Research Fund to develop this work and am currently working with Fardoulis Robotics, Buckingham University and the Mines Advisory Group to develop a solution.

On the space side, I'm working with the UK and European Space Agencies on establishing facilities such as the Harwell Robotics and Autonomy Facility as well as Sample Curation Facilities to support a future Mars Sample Return Programme.

I am also a STEM ambassador and act as a mentor for young men and women in STEM. I give talks to schools and University students and like to be involved in Outreach programmes when I have time.


Rand Alkhatib

Rand Alkhatib | Arcadis

Rand Alkhatib

Rand believes in her ability as a woman engineer to make an impact in the world.

This comes from a strong drive for social welfare and improvement, shaped by her childhood in Baghdad. She is continuously demonstrating being bold and knows that failing is an acceptable part of improving.

Rand comes from a family of doctors, yet she decided to follow her passion and study Civil Engineering. She started her career in 2014 with Arcadis Middle East, where she became part of the Conveyance team (Water Sector) and has used her set of skills and knowledge in preparation of Wet Utilities masterplans for cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In 2017 Rand transferred to Arcadis UK where she focused on improving water resilience for UK’s major water companies and creating optimised solutions for the networks considering capital and operational costs, resilience, water quality and hydraulic performance using new technologies.
In her second year, Rand was selected as one of the top 3 globally for Arcadis’ Global Shapers; a highly selective program designed for young professionals with prospects of shaping the future of Arcadis. And currently acting as global shaper ambassador to young professionals.

In 2018 and in celebration of International Women in Engineering day in the UK. Rand was selected as one of her company’s role models in that year of engineering.

Rand was also successful in securing a place on the Women in Engineering Course with STEM careers for further development, sharing experiences and creating strong women in engineering network. She also actively presents her company in University career fairs to promote careers in STEM.

Rand played an integral part in launching Roots of Arcadis in Dubai (A program designed to provide leadership and growth opportunities to young professionals and foster a sense of collaboration and culture-sharing across business lines). She was also elected by senior leaders to be Arcadis’ young representative and committee member in ACE (Association of Consultancy and Engineering); and through her role, Rand has helped junior Arcadians to expand their professional networks.


Rosario Barcena

Rosario Barcena | Systra

Rosario Barcena

I'm a Chartered Civil Engineer with over 15 years’ experience specialising in the management of design, construction and supervision of infrastructure projects as well as winning work, mainly within the rail industry.

I arrived in the UK as an Erasmus student from Spain to finish my engineering degree. My intention was to return after a year with international experience and fluent English; a valuable asset in the Spanish engineering market, i.e. a good catch. The opportunity arose to apply for a scholarship during that year, I was successful and went on to complete a Master’s Degree and subsequently secured a job as a graduate civil engineer in York, where I discovered the rail industry. My 8 years’ experience with Jacobs was fascinating and the years flew by, as I became a Chartered engineer and received a long-standing service from my company!

Throughout this time, I’d continued to feel the need to return home, Spain’s High Speed Rail (HSR) was at its peak and I decided it was a good time for me to get involved in this and other international major projects. After 5 years in Spain and having spent 3 year supervising delivery of the Madrid-Valencia HSR Line I realised that the UK had become my home and luckily my HSR experience allowed me to return to the UK to work on HS2, developing the route options between Birmingham and Manchester (Phase 2). Later I joined Tony Gee and Partners to develop my consultancy and engineering management, where I became Regional Director. My passion for major projects continued to grow, and I needed a bigger firm to make a difference and create a legacy in my industry. Now, I am a Project Director with SYSTRA Ltd, I am responsible for two of the sections (N1 and N2) of the London to Birmingham Route (Phase 1) of HS2, so back on a major project and working hard with our Strategic Growth Director to secure work on transformative railway schemes around the world.