Young Woman Engineer of the Year

17 Dec 2009 12:33:00.000

PA 324/09

A University of Nottingham graduate has been named Young Woman Engineer of the Year by one of the world's leading professional societies for the engineering and technology industries.


Sally Walters, a senior civil engineer with Pell Frischmann in Exeter, was awarded the title by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) at an awards ceremony in London. Sally received a trophy and cheque for £1,000, and will be an ambassador and spokesperson for the industry as part of her new role.


Sally graduated with a first class honours MEng in Civil Engineering from The University of Nottingham in 2002. She said: “It’s a privilege to win this award and I’m excited about the opportunities it will open up to promote engineering as a valuable, rewarding and exciting career. The award will also enable me to highlight the achievements of women within the industry across all the engineering sectors. I also hope, through me winning the Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award that my enthusiasm and passion will inspire others to seek careers in engineering.”

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Sally added: “My time at Nottingham was extremely enjoyable and it was whilst studying at Nottingham that my passion for engineering developed, especially gaining an appreciation for the diversity of engineering and an understanding of the broad spectrum of opportunities and careers that are available to engineers. The course at Nottingham provided a great base upon which to develop my career and further my development. The degree was diverse, interesting and extremely rewarding.”


Dean of Engineering, Professor Hai-Sui Yu, said: “I'm delighted to hear of Sally's success and would like to congratulate her on this prestigious award. As a civil engineer myself it is particularly satisfying to see one of our civil engineering alumni being recognised in this way. Civil engineers are at the heart of society, delivering sustainable development through knowledge, skills and professional expertise, and it is imperative for the future of the engineering profession as a whole that we attract engineers from diverse backgrounds. Women make up a large pool of talent that is still significantly untapped by the engineering profession. Whilst we have made great progress: today around 13 per cent of engineering undergraduates are women compared with the four per cent of 20 years ago, there is a considerable way to go to achieve the gender balance.”


After graduating from Nottingham, Sally joined Costain Ltd, as a Graduate Site Engineer. She spent 18 months with Costain’s Maritime Division at the Port of Felixstowe working on a 270m extension to the main quay wall creating another Container Vessel dock. In 2004 Sally joined South West Water and Exeter University, working on a two year Industrial Research placement, under a Knowledge Transfer Partnership Scheme. After completing an MPhil in Engineering she joined Pell Frischmann Consulting Engineers, in Exeter, as a Design Engineer working on water and wastewater design projects. She was promoted to Senior Civil Engineer and recently gained her Chartered Engineer Status, CEng. Whilst at Pell Frischmann, she has progressed from a design engineer to project manager, responsible for a multi-million pound International development project in Romania as well as key projects for South West Water. 


Professor Christopher Snowden, President of the IET, said:  “These young women are not only pushing the boundaries of engineering and technology, they are also powerful role models to other aspiring young women and their influence and inspiration will not be limited solely to the engineering field.”


The IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award seeks to reward the very best female engineers the UK has to offer, highlight the achievements of women in engineering and encourage others to enter the profession. The Award which is one of the most high profile events in the engineering calendar is now in its 33rd year.


— Ends —


Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.


More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.


The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.


 Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives ( in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.


About the IET:

•    The IET is a world leading professional organisation, sharing and advancing knowledge to promote science, engineering and technology across the world. 

•    The IET dates from 1871 and has 150,000 members in 127 countries with offices in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.

•    For more information, visit


Story credits

More information is available from Media Relations Manager Emma Rayner in the University’s Communications Office on +44 (0)115 951 5793,; or Robert Beahan, Communications Manager IET on +44 (0)1438 767336,


Emma Rayner - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 74 84413  Location: University Park

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