In February, as part of a visit to the city of Birmingham, Matthew W. Barzun, Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, visited the University and took some time to meet with two EESE students to find out more about their participation in outreach work. 


Electronic and Electrical Engineering students Tim Rudkin and Lucy Stephens.

Students Lucy Stephens and Tim Rudkin were invited to discuss their work with young people following the First LEGO League regional tournament, which EESE hosted at the University at the beginning of January. The event focused around school children and organisations demonstrating their science and technology skills to solve a range of problem based scenarios on the theme of natural disasters. With support from staff and students, teams presented a research project displaying prowess on designing, building and programming a robot, using LEGO, to clear-up and make people safe in the aftermath of an earthquake and tsunami. 

Tim said: ‘I was delighted to have the opportunity to highlight the hard work and dedication put in by some of the Engineering lecturers and staff of the University; to somebody as influential as Mathew Barzun. By organizing and running the First Lego League, they have gone above and beyond what is expected in order to promote Engineering and the University to the general public. It was a privilege to share this with the Ambassador.’ 

Matthew W. Barzun was selected by President Barack Obama as National Finance Chair for the president's 2012 re-election campaign. He previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Sweden from 2009 to 2011. Ambassador Barzun is an internet pioneer who was the fourth employee at CNET Networks, where he worked from 1993-2004. Ambassador Barzun served in a number of roles at CNET, including Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy officer, and member of the executive committee. During his time there, he launched Download.Com, which grew to become CNET's biggest site and he led the effort to build one of the first comparison shopping sites on the Internet, Shopper.Com. He went on to co-lead all of CNET's online properties including CNET.Com and News.Com.