Published: 06 August 2019

Silverstone weekend is a win-win for Surrey students!

Two biomedical engineering students were selected to attend the first ever Women in Engineering STEMship event – with Rachel Drage announced as one of just 30 sponsorship winners from across the UK.

Santander sponsorships event
(L-r) TV presenter Nicki Shields, Santander UK CEO Nathan Bostock, Rachel Drage and Jenson Button.

Rachel and fellow student Emma Wright, who are both studying for a MEng Biomedical Engineering degree, got the chance to rub shoulders with some of the most successful female engineers in motorsport at the sponsorship launch event, which took place at Silverstone to coincide with Formula Student on 20 July.

This made it an incredibly successful weekend for the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, with the SURTES (Surrey University Racing Technology and Engineering Solutions) team winning two awards at Formula Student – the world’s biggest student motorsport competition.

The Santander sponsorships were presented by Nathan Bostock, CEO of Santander UK, following an engaging afternoon of panel discussions about the significance of women in engineering industries and how the gender climate is changing in STEM careers. Also in attendance was former Formula One world champion Jenson Button who advocated the importance of encouraging women into STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers.

As the winner of a sponsorship, Rachel will receive a cash grant along with support and mentorship, personal development opportunities, access to exclusive careers events and a two-year membership of the Women in Engineering Society. While there are only 30 full sponsorships, Santander Universities were so impressed by the strength and passion shown by all who attended that they decided to extend a number of these opportunities to shortlisted students such as Emma.

To be considered for a STEMship sponsorship, students had to submit a minute-long video describing why they would love to win and how the sponsorship would benefit them.

Rachel said: “The day at Silverstone was amazing: hearing women such as Clare Sibley, Head of Material Science at Williams Racing, and Nikki Rimmington, Vice President and Chief Planning Officer at Aston Martin talking about their careers and triumphs was really motivating. I’m thrilled and slightly overwhelmed to be officially sponsored by Santander universities now, in my studies and early career development, and so grateful to be recognised and offered this chance.”

Emma commented: “I was very grateful to be considered for a place on the programme. It was a very exciting day in the presence of inspirational and strong females from numerous different universities and careers. The event has opened up the door for many more opportunities to come!”

Principal Teaching Fellow Dr Nicole Rockliff said: “I am delighted that both Rachel and Emma made the shortlist and that Rachel has received an award; both are excellent examples of our students here in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences. The Santander sponsorship is a great idea, allowing the young women receiving the awards to develop their confidence and skills through networking and other personal development activities, and giving them a boost in what is still a heavily male-dominated environment.”


Discover our courses in mechanical engineering sciences, including our BEng (Hons)/MEng Biomedical Engineering.


Rachel Drage and Emma Wright
Rachel Drage (left) and Emma Wright.

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