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Work placement student named Top 20 figure in British manufacturing

Maria Large

What’s the best you can hope for from a work placement? Connections in your industry of choice? A big name on your CV, perhaps? A job?

For one Brunel student completing a placement with luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), it led to much, much more – recognition as one of the ‘exemplary figures in UK manufacturing’ from heavyweight industry magazine The Manufacturer.

“It’s amazing,” said third-year Mechanical Engineering student Maria Vasquez Caroprese. “I feel very privileged because I’m only just starting my career, and to have this gives me a platform to improve on all the things I want to do going forward.”

The Manufacturer Top 100 is an annual award which recognises the brightest talent in manufacturing. Special recognition is given to 20 exemplary figures – including CEOs, managing directors and senior engineering professionals – who are profiled in The Manufacturer magazine. Maria received exemplary status in two separate categories: Young Pioneer and Driver of Cultural Change.

Maria was nominated for the award by JLR, who were so impressed by her year in their Thermal and Aerodynamic Systems Engineering team that they asked her to stay for an additional three months.

The Off-Road Research team at JLR have now agreed to support her final-year research project into fully autonomous vehicles.

During her time with Brunel University London, Maria, who is originally from Colombia, has proven herself a staunch advocate for women in engineering, having been on the executive committee for the society Innovia: Women in STEM and Design. Last year, the society was given the exciting opportunity to visit research organisation CERN in Switzerland, thanks to sponsorship Maria arranged from Accenture.

She also helped the Brunel launch of Code First: Girls, a course which aims to increase the number of women working in IT. So far, over 100 women at Brunel have learnt the basics of front-end web programming and (programming language) Python through the course.

 “I never dreamt of being an engineer, I never visualised myself as one,” said Maria.

“But I thought, ‘maybe engineering will be something I enjoy,’ so I enrolled at the university – and I think it was the best decision I ever made. I love it so much, it’s so exciting. I wish someone had told me as much as I’m trying to tell other people about it, because it would have made that decision process less painful and less daunting.

“I don’t want other people – not only girls, but boys too – backing away from going forward with engineering, because it’s such an exciting field to be in, and your job can be so varied. It’s not just what’s represented in an image of the stereotypical engineer – it’s a lot more exciting than that.”

To find out more about the Brunel’s Mechanical Engineering programme, please visit brunel.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/mechanical-engineering-beng

Reported by:

Tim Pilgrim, Media Relations
+44 (0)1895 268965