Ex Henrietta Barnett pupil pens book to encourage girls into engineering

PUBLISHED: 11:59 02 November 2020 | UPDATED: 14:20 09 November 2020

Ex Henrietta Barnett pupil Dr Shini Somara has written An Engineer Like Me to encourage young girls to study STEM subjects

Ex Henrietta Barnett pupil Dr Shini Somara has written An Engineer Like Me to encourage young girls to study STEM subjects

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An Engineer Like Me by Dr Shini Somara follows Zara around the city asking her gran questions like How do roller coasters do loop-the-loops and how do planes stay up?

Ex Henrietta Barnett pupil Dr Shini Somara has written An Engineer Like Me to encourage young girls to study STEM subjectsEx Henrietta Barnett pupil Dr Shini Somara has written An Engineer Like Me to encourage young girls to study STEM subjects

A brightly coloured picture book about a curious child and her knowledgeable gran hopes to encourage young girls to see the fascinating side of engineering.

An Engineer Like Me follows Zara on her travels around the city asking her granny tricky questions from How do roller coasters do loop-the-loops to How do planes stay up?

As she learns about some of the brilliant female scientists who have shaped

the world around her, she can’t wait to start creating her own inventions.

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The book, which includes pages encouraging children to make a paper aeroplane or drop an egg from a height, is written by ex Henrietta Barnett pupil Dr Shini Somara.

A Mechanical engineer, who presents science programmes for the BBC, Sky and The Science Channel, she’s a passionate advocate of encouraging girls to study STEM subjects - like she did at the Hampstead Garden Suburb grammar.

“It goes back to my childhood, my dad is an engineer and I was a real daddy’s girl,” she says. “I grew up influenced by the way he raised all three of his girls to love science. I never questioned going into science, but there are so few women in engineering and particularly women of colour, hat I have been involved in many initiatives to try to encourage women into STEM careers, and in the media I have tried to illustrate and explain what engineering is about because it’s such a broad label.”

Like little Zara, Shini remembers always “asking questions trying to understand how things work and let my curiosity run riot”.

“I wanted to point out the engineering in our daily lives and the gran in the book is not unlike some of the women I have met along my career journey. I am just as guilty of stereotyping. Sometimes I will talk to someone who says ‘I studied biochemical engineering’ and be surprised. There are so many amazing stories of women who did incredible things but many are hidden figures, like the women who worked for NASA’s space project.

“No-one questions women becoming doctors and I want the children who read this book to grow up thinking the same about engineering.”

An Engineer Like Me is out now published by Wren&Rook £12.99.


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