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Kesgrave sixth former wins prestigious Arkwright scholarship in engineering

PUBLISHED: 14:41 12 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:41 12 December 2017

Kesgrave High School student Megan Henderson  has been successful in gaining an Arkwright Scholarship. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Kesgrave High School student Megan Henderson has been successful in gaining an Arkwright Scholarship. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A Kesgrave sixth former has won a prestigious Arkwright scholarship marking her out as a future leader in engineering.

Megan Henderson with her teacher Tom Corker.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Megan Henderson with her teacher Tom Corker. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Megan Henderson, 16, found out she had been awarded the scholarship after a rigorous application process over the last 12 months, which included an engineering project, two-hour aptitude exam and an interview.

Having been one of just a few hundred in the country to gain the prize, the year 12 student is now benefiting from a tie-up with top engineering firm Arm Ltd.

“I was quite shocked – I was standing in Tesco when I got an email saying I had won a scholarship,” she said.

“It’s quite significant because universities in engineering do look for it so it is an amazing thing to have.

Kesgrave High School student Megan Henderson  has been successful in gaining an Arkwright Scholarship. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Kesgrave High School student Megan Henderson has been successful in gaining an Arkwright Scholarship. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“They do give you a lot of opportunities like VIP days at universities and places to visit.”

Five sixth formers at the school won scholarships in October 2016, with past students having benefitted from work experience placements, engineering events and advice and mentoring from their scholars.

Megan was interviewed in Cambridge in April, and for her project created a camera in her garage which responded to certain movements that could deter burglars from stealing her moped.

Megan, who is studying maths, physics, computer science and engineering, is now looking at university courses to apply for, and is eyeing a career in computer science or electrical engineering.

She is also bucking the trend of engineering being typically dominated by men, and hopes to inspire others into STEM (science technology, engineering and maths) subjects.

“I hope I can inspire others,” she said.

“I really want to see a lot more girls in engineering – there are a few but I would like to see more.

“It was a very stereotypical thing but I love it because there is a real challenge to it.”

A national drive to get girls into STEM subjects has also been seen in the scholarship winners, with 30% of winners comprising girls – the highest it has ever been.

Tom Corker, head of technology at Kesgrave High School, said: “There is definitely a culture shift, and this year is 30% girls so it shows it is happening.

“Certainly I think this is an aspiration that the top students are trying to get that because it puts them in good stead for university applications.”

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