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RMS girls achieve success in Cambridge University Essay Competition


Sarah Roger-Lund, a Year 12 student at The Royal Masonic School for Girls in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, has been awarded 1st prize in the prestigious Engineering Essay Competition 2015 run by Newnham College, Cambridge whilst fellow student Helen Griffiths took 3rd prize in the very competitive Law Essay Competition. The Cambridge University competitions are open to all girls currently in Year 12 attending a UK school.

In the area of Engineering, the essay prize is intended to encourage students to think creatively about how some of the scientific knowledge gained at school may be applied in later life, in particular in industry, so as to improve matters (the aim of most engineers). The Prize also aims to recognise the achievements of high-calibre students and those who teach them, and to encourage more girls to consider applying to study Engineering at university.

Candidates were provided with a number of topics ranging from answering the question, ‘Does formula 1 motorcar racing bring benefit or the reverse to humankind?’ to discussing the physical phenomena being exploited in industries such as performance sportswear, noise control and counter terrorism.

Sarah chose to write her essay on the thriving industry of small-scale hydroelectricity.

‘Last year, I carried out work experience with a company that generates electricity through hydropower in the UK, and I learned about the physics and engineering principles used to build hydros. The fundamental idea of my essay was that these turbines are 'small-scale' - the company makes the environment their top priority, doing everything they can to ensure that fish and ecosystems are preserved, unlike larger hydros, which involve making huge dams and the destruction of ecosystems in the process. If more research and development were done, then there would be great opportunities for people in developing countries to build small hydros to provide electricity for themselves, even in remote areas’.

As for her future plans, Sarah states, ‘I have been intending to study some sort of engineering for a few years now, but only recently have I narrowed this down to chemical engineering after falling in love with AS chemistry - mostly due to the incredible department at RMS.’

Helen, whose essay was about ‘the right to die’ and whether euthanasia should be legalised, plans to apply to study law next year.
When asked about her interest in the subject, Helen states, ‘I was inspired by my mother, a successful solicitor, who got me interested in the judiciary system. I enjoy analysing information and writing structured arguments so I feel this is the right course for me.’

Both girls will be attending a special presentation at Newnham College, Cambridge, on June 27th to receive their prizes.


Published: June 11 2015

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