RAEng President Dame Ann visits Peterborough school kicking off #ThisIsEngineering!

26 January 2018

Last week, students at Ken Stimpson Community School were treated to an engaging talk from the President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS.

Dame Ann, who as a part of Speakers for Schools visited the school in Peterborough, shared some of her research ideas during her talk including a demonstration of how engineers study the airflow around aircraft wings using a Henry Hoover as her trusty assistant. Dame Ann also spoke about her work in acoustics with the students, specifically about the Silent Aircraft Initiative, a partnership project with MIT and University of Cambridge, which she led.

Dame Ann’s talk coincides with the This Is Engineering campaign launch, a campaign that looks to change the perception of engineering amongst young people namely through advertising and social media. The campaign is being led by the Royal Academy of Engineering in partnership with eleven major engineering organisations including BAE SystemsBP and Rolls-Royce.

Having previously commented on her desire to increase the number of young people entering the profession, Dame Ann’s talk focussed on the need to inspire students to take up subjects such as maths and science at A-level by demonstrating the creativity behind engineering.


As Dame Ann said:“Engineers look at the world around them and think ‘how can I make it a better place? What challenges can I solve?’. If you want to use creativity, problem solving and teamwork to bring your ideas to life, shape the future and make a difference – engineering is for you!

“We need lots more engineers from all backgrounds to join the profession, so much so that government has designated 2018 as the Year of Engineering to highlight the scale of opportunity that a career in engineering holds for young people in the UK.”

Paul Swift Assistant Principal at Ken Stimpson Community School, says: “It was a pleasure to welcome Dame Ann Dowling to the school to engage our students in engineering. Ann was informative and approachable, our students felt comfortable asking her questions and, having spoken to them afterwards, they enjoyed the talk immensely!”


With an impressive host of accolades including a CBE for services to Mechanical Engineering in 2002, a DBE for services to Science in 2007 and appointment to the Order of Merit by the Queen in 2015, we are delighted to welcome Dame Ann to our growing network of speakers. In 2018, Speakers for Schools is working with Dame Ann and the Royal Academy of Engineering to see that even more top engineers join our network to share their personal stories and insights about the world of engineering.

 #ThisisEngineering is a new multi-year campaign led by the Royal Academy of Engineering in partnership with eleven major engineering organisations. The campaign looks to change perceptions of engineering amongst young people aged 13-18. Be sure to follow @ThisisEng and find out more about the campaign here!


We’re working with professional bodies and our network to help state schools hear from more of the UK’s top engineers and leading women. To find out more about our campaigns get in touch via our contact page. You can also find out more about our speaker network here.