01 June 2017

STEM gallery to honour war hero former student

STEM gallery to honour war hero former student

Abertay University is to honour an inspirational former student who became the first ever female British marine engineer and was awarded an MBE for bravery at sea during the Second World War.

To mark International Women in Engineering Day on June 23, Abertay will host a conference day packed with workshops and talks, all featuring ‘Unsung Heroes of STEM’ who have had an influence on science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

The event will also feature a gallery in Abertay’s Hannah Maclure Centre, including images of former student, the late Victoria Drummond.

Drummond was born at Megginch Castle, Perthshire in 1894, where she was named after her godmother, Queen Victoria.

Abertay’s Old College already houses a commemorative memorial plaque to the pioneer, who was the first British woman marine engineer, the first female member of the Institute of Marine Engineers and was awarded both an MBE and Lloyds war medal for bravery at sea during the Second World War.

After training to be an engineer at the University when it was Dundee Institute of Technology, Drummond began her career as an apprentice in the Northern Garage, Perth, from 1916-1918 before moving to the Caledon Ship Works in Dundee where she stayed until 1922.

Drummond worked as an air raid warden in London at the start of the war, with the Victoria Drummond canteen set up in Lambeth North to provide food for families bombed out of their homes.

By 1940, she had joined the SS Bonita and was aboard the ship when it was attacked by enemy aircraft in the mid-Atlantic.

After the incident she was commended for her bravery and leadership, with her conduct described as an “inspiration to the ship's company” by The Times.

The Abertay event organisers are lecturer Margi Vilnay and student Aleksandra Tomczyk of the University’s Division of Civil Engineering – this month ranked top in Scotland in the Guardian Good University Guide 2018.

Aleksandra said: “Victoria Drummond is an amazing example of what can be achieved when someone is driven to succeed in their chosen field, regardless of the obstacles in their way.

“Our Unsung Heroes of STEM will shine a light on the achievements of some incredible pioneers of STEM and there is still time to sign up and get involved.”

The event, funded by the Division of Civil Engineering, will include a bookable workshop on Unconscious Bias, afternoon tea, networking, two guest speakers and the unveiling of the poster competition winner.

To sign up visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/unsung-heroes-of-stem-international-women-in-engineering-day-at-abertay-tickets-34107846487.

For more information on how to enter the poster competition, the prize for which is funded by the Institution of Civil Engineering Dundee Area Branch, email Aleksandra at 1304133@abertay.ac.uk

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