EPS Societies' Awards 2016 Winners Announced

On Wednesday 8 June 2016 the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences celebrated the achievements of its student societies with the third annual EPS Societies’ Awards. This spectacular black-tie, masquerade themed dinner with live entertainment and 12 prestigious awards was a brilliant way to end the academic year.

We have a strong tradition of outstanding educational success; from public astronomy events to designing cars, journalism to diversity our societies do astonishing work not just in academia but also to promote careers opportunities, industrial visits, guest speakers and, of course, social events. 

These Awards act as a reminder of the hard work and dedication undertaken by students to make the University a better, more vibrant place to study and play. 

The exceptional winners of the 2016 EPS Societies' Awards are:


Outstanding Event Award

Women in Technology Conference

WISE: Women in Science and Engineering Society and CSS: Computer Science Society

Event - WIT

CSS and WISE joined forces to organise the University’s first Women in Technology Conference in February. The whole EPS and University Community were invited and more than 180 guests registered for a day of talks, workshops and networking sessions with industrial speakers and sponsors from across the technology sector. There was a great buzz and enthusiasm throughout the day with the inspirational TED-style talks offering insight into a range of career paths in technology such as graduate schemes, becoming an entrepreneur and climbing the ladder in academia. Attendees of all ages from around the Midlands had the chance to hear from role models about what it is like to be a woman in their male-dominated fields, and how they got to where they are today. From networking sessions and company stands to event merchandise and refreshments, every detail was thought about to make sure the event was as professional and smooth as possible. This exemplary event evidences how much WISE have achieved in a very short period of existence, and the leadership of CSS’ President who co-organised the Conference alongside hackathons and other activities. Members of both societies worked tirelessly to obtain funding and connect with new and existing contacts to make this event hugely successful. The day saw great attendance, offered a fantastic variety and quality of speakers, inspired the next generation of female scientists and engineers and showcased what is possible when different societies work together to combine their passion, knowledge and resources.


Outreach Award


Outreach - UBRacing 2

UBRacing have spared no effort in promoting engineering and STEM subjects. In October they featured in the Malvern Festival of Innovation where their car attracted the attention of the public, giving the team the opportunity to show how the project helps shape engineers of tomorrow. They recently accompanied Aston Martin on a school visit to promote STEM subjects. The session was a great success with the team receiving praise for their coherence, enthusiasm and approachability. Another School visit in November, this time to the former primary school of one of their members: they spent the day talking to an army of four year-olds about Formula Student and answering questions on the car. The presence of Team Principal Francesca Cardilli even encouraged some of the girls in their STEM learning. Not only did the children enjoy the visit, having a go sitting in the car and taking shots of every component, they were genuinely inspired to create their very own cars. The team even received letters of thanks, drawings and models from the children! UBRacing go above and beyond to offer children and prospective applicants help and support in ensuring they’re making a conscious decision when considering engineering.


Volunteer of the Year

Lucy Quantick, PPS: Poynting Physical Society

Volunteer - Lucy Quantick 2

Lucy has been an integral part of the success of the PPS committee, going above and beyond to make sure everything runs smoothly. Within this she organised many of the Society’s events and was fundamental in planning the PPS Ball. She is an irreplaceable member of the senior committee, solidly dependable, encouraging newer members to take on responsibilities and including them in discussions. This has left PPS in the strongest possible position for next year with many newer members now taking on senior roles thanks to her encouragement. Away from PPS and her studies, Lucy dedicates much of her free time to local charities in particular the Buddy a Granny scheme and the Monday Night Club, where she cares for individuals with mental health problems. Lucy’s work with these organisations is a genuine passion and she speaks fondly about the joy she gets from helping others. She is often remarked as being the most dedicated member of these missions, taking on extra responsibilities such as planning events and standing in for committee members. All this shows Lucy’s dedication, compassion and care for others; some of the most honourable traits anyone can have.


Sports Personality of the Year

Emma Neild, MathSoc

Sports Personality - Emma Neild 2

Emma’s commitment and enthusiasm for sport has shone throughout this year. She has successfully captained MathSoc’s intra-mural netball team, introduced friendly non-league matches for the first time in the Society’s history and beaten the usual tradition of end-of-season drop-outs. She encouraged more first years than ever to join in and has built and maintained an enthusiastic team, continuing commitment throughout the year. Most notably Emma was a big part of MathSoc’s Fundraising February and despite not being a runner, she joined other mathletes in raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust by running the Coventry half marathon on 28 February. Her commitment to sport and her own development was shown when, unbeknownst to her, she broke her leg only a mile into the half marathon but went on to complete the race in a very respectable 2 hours and 16 minutes, even if she did collapse at the end! She became something of an internet sensation featuring in The Tab and Daily Mirror to name a few. Her enthusiasm has been instrumental in the spirit of MathSoc sport this year, although we recommend she doesn’t run on a broken leg again!


Sports Team of the Year 2015/16

School of Engineering RFC

Sports Team of the Year - Engineering Rugby 2

The School of Engineering RFC has taken big steps to bring both social and competitive rugby to EPS and Birmingham students. Over a decade ago the Club started as a mechanical engineering inter-mural team but has grown, through steady development of players and quality performances, to include members from a wide range of subjects across the University. The team have seen great success this year with their biggest intake of new members to date thanks to the enthusiasm of the committee who have a strong aptitude for recruiting players of all abilities. The committee work tirelessly to achieve sponsorship deals so they can provide regular training sessions and matches enabling players to develop their skills and play the sport they love. Recently the Club started playing in local tournaments against teams from Birmingham, other universities and local clubs. The Club also keeps a busy social calendar including annual events such as the Club Dinner, an alumni match and even a UK tour. It is a testament to the nature of the squad that university-standard players choose to play for Engineering RFC instead of the main University teams.


EPS Community Award


EPS Community - MathSoc

The EPS University Challenge was the first quiz of its kind to be run in the College, bringing together societies within the EPS Community. As part of Fundraising February and Carnival Rag’s Adopt a Charity Week, MathSoc raised almost £300 for the Teenage Cancer Trust by organising a College-wide quiz based on the much-loved television programme, University Challenge. 16 teams from nine societies across the College competed for glory with more than 50 spectators cheering on. After several rounds of general knowledge questions, a tense semi-final and very close final with MathSoc A vs ChemSoc B, ChemSoc reigned victorious. The evening pulled the EPS societies together in a way that has not been done before. Through friendly competition, a few strange answers, an interesting sports round and a huge amount of support for all competitors, MathSoc delivered an unforgettable challenge. They have created a new level of interaction between societies that is already leading to a greater level of confidence in holding more joint and collaborative events and competitions.


Industrial Award

James O'Neill, CivSoc

Industrial - James O'Neill

James has transformed the role of Industrial Liaison for CivSoc, working tirelessly to provide a host of industrial activities. In October he helped co-ordinate ‘An Evening with Carillion’ where representatives of Carillion’s core business areas met with over 50 civil engineering students in a speed-dating-style networking session offering real insight into the role of a civil engineer. This was the first event of this model for the College and a huge success which will no doubt lead to similar events in the future. James was also influential in encouraging students to join the RESPECT scheme. James reflected on his own experiences to deliver a presentation on interview techniques and application processes to his peers. Later in the year James ran a civil engineering Careers Fair where he personally invited companies to the University to promote employment opportunities. The success of James’ programme has created a solid foundation from which CivSoc can build their relationships with industry.

Highly commended: MathSoc


Inspirational Committee Member

Jack Wearden, CSS: Computer Science Society

Inspirational - Jack Wearden

Jack has devoted a phenomenal amount of time to CSS this year. Under his leadership CSS has broken membership, events, participation and revenue records, and in doing so has made the Society an essential part of life in Computer Science. Jack is dedicated to ensuring correct and efficient management with tenacity to power through when unfortunate setbacks occur and encouraging as many people to get involved as possible (not many could get away with chanting Justin Bieber at freshers!). He is a master of all trades and an efficient leader inspiring his team to step outside their comfort zone to try new things and is supportive every step of the way. Not satisfied with running a society, Jack was also central to the launching two major new initiatives for CSS: the highly successful BrumHack series and the Women in Technology Conference with WISE. Both have not only promoted computer science but provided numerous career opportunities by attracting sponsors such as Accenture, GitHub, Goldman Sachs, Nationwide and many more. Jack has had a big impact on the Society and Computer Science and is certainly graduating leaving CSS with a strong legacy and foundation to continue their rapid growth.

Highly commended: Amanda Field and Carmel Greenwood, BUMS: Birmingham University Materials Society


Role Model of the Year

Francesca Cardilli, UBRacing

Role Model - Francesca Cardilli

Fran is ultimately responsible for the smooth running of UBRacing, ensuring members work to their full potential. In a year with high expectations after a strong string of results, she has shown a sensible and calm approach to her responsibilities. In addition to this huge workload, Fran is easily approachable and regularly puts others before herself, even at her own expense. This attitude has kept the team working together during a period of drastic change on the project, bringing about many unexpected challenges which Fran has led them to successfully overcome. As well as her UBRacing responsibilities Fran is a mentor for younger students and University applicants, always willing to share her experiences and offer advice. She not only puts her heart and soul into UBRacing but maintains high grades, is a key ambassador for the Department and has secured a competitive placement at Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains.

Highly commended: Tom Dack, PPS: Poynting Physical Society


Head of College Idea of the Year

PhD Pathways

Alex Thomas, AstroSoc

Idea - Alex Thomas

Driven by her own curiosity, Alex created PhD Pathways to help inform undergraduates about the life of a PhD student; a topic unfortunately not previously covered by existing careers activities. With over 20% of graduating physics students going on to do a PhD each year, this event was much needed. The afternoon saw postgraduates from a range of research groups give presentations on their work, alongside talks from members of staff on application processes, funding and assessments. Already a respected undergraduate, Alex was easily able to source PhD speakers, with even more turning up after the formal talks to chat to undergraduates. The event was very well received with approximately 40% of 3rd year students attending. Lower years are already keen to have a repeat event in their own third years and with equal enthusiasm from the School PhD Pathways is likely to become a staple event in the calendar. The event provided a direct link between undergraduates and postgraduates and offered the opportunity to hear the honest thoughts of those currently undertaking a PhD. It also increased the profile of Physics PhD opportunities at Birmingham.


Great Achievement in EPS Award

Daisy Partlow, UBRacing and JUGS: James Watt Undergraduate Society

Great - Daisy Partlow

As President of JUGS Daisy reinvigorated the Society. She increased membership and enthusiasm amongst the student body, designed a suite of new events and rebuilt relationships in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. As Head of Sponsorship and Marketing for UBRacing she collaborated with the IMechE, existing sponsors and new contacts. She successfully secured an additional £5,000 in support and more from gifts-in-kind which helped propel the team towards their best ever points score and 7th place finish at the 2015 Formula Student competition. Daisy then spent her summer with Aston Martin improving machinability and manufacturing component costs. This was only made possible by her taking the initiative to strengthen relationships between Aston Martin Lagonda, alumnus Ian Minards (whom she met at the 2014 EPS Societies’ Awards), UBRacing and the Department. She is now a fourth year rep working with staff and students to create an environment in which both groups can openly express concerns, creating greater coherence and leading to a higher standard of education for current and future students. Daisy also volunteers at a local Scout and Beaver Group encouraging young children to partake in adventure activities, camping and life skills. In May she was honoured by the District Commissioner for her services to Scouting. Daisy is an outstanding ambassador, has inspired many young people and is an advocate for women in engineering, empowering girls to consider STEM subjects through her own enthusiasm.


Society of the Year 2015/16

BUCES: Birmingham University Chemical Engineering Society

Society of the Year - BUCES

With Chemical Engineering becoming increasingly popular and a record number of first year entrants in September 2015, the BUCES has had to diversify to meet such high demand. They now have over 350 active members and their annual events (Winter Ball and the Industrial Dinner) are bigger than ever. They are officially the best chemical engineering students in the UK on the sports pitch, thanks to another Frank Morton sports day victory. Despite their growing size they continually identify areas to develop or new pockets of students to involve. BUCES have introduced an Academic President responsible for student-staff liaisons and ensuring continued student satisfaction. With this role they evolved their year rep scheme, increasing the number of students involved and creating better cohesion within the School. They also held an International Carnival in order to engage overseas students and offer them the opportunity to teach others about their home culture through sharing food, games and traditions. Most notably, they constantly work to ensure freshers settle into University life through not only social events but academic support and the family mentoring programme. BUCES is now a reason students apply to Birmingham.


To find out more about the EPS Societies' Awards, or to get involved in the 2017 event, visit www.birmingham.ac.uk/eps/societiesawards.