We’ve got an hour to kill between the WISE conference and the WISE awards and 90 % of the WYWB are staying in a hotel in WC1. I’m not.. and so rather than navigate London traffic I walked around St. Paul’s then got changed in a disabled toilet at the Grange Hotel. There was a lot of pre-awards chat about dress length (HRH Princess Royal had indicated it had to be between the knee and the ankle) and I freaked out because I certainly don’t own anything below the knee, but it was okay, there were heaps of knees on show, and ‘cocktail’ dress is just not a thing.
We stood around and drank prosecco and eyed-up each other’s outfits- it turns out there are a lot of very glamorous women in science and engineering, but not a lot of men ;). We were grouped in tables by our roles- Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce, RAEng, IET, WISE Board, WYWB, girls with their mum’s nominated for the WISE girl prize, Intel, the RAF, Network Rail- so many organisations supporting women in science you’d be surprised there weren’t more in it. Each table was adorned with white wine, red wine, water, menus- and little bags of Lego! After we’d had a glimpse of the royal party we began our food and Lego challenge: design a car that can go the furthest as possible in a minute. The WYWB were committed: getting lego advice from colleagues by text, rubbing the axels with butter, making sails… The awards themselves were great the judges had made a great series of videos celebrating these ‘wonder women’. Imperial College triumphed again; winning in both the tech-start up (sponsored by Goldman Sachs) and the WISE Influence award (sponsored by the RAEng). The room sparkled and applauded and there whoops in the air as Helen Wollaston confirmed we’d be doing a WISE men’s award next year (and instant offer of half sponsorship by McKinsey). We didn’t win the Lego car challenge- the RAEng did- but we did have a brilliant time. There not only awesome scientists, but the WYWB is a really great group of people. The WISE Awards celebrated the country’s best engineers, undergraduates, technologists and researchers. There was even a Women in Science afterparty in the nightclub downstairs !!!