Section News

Award | Dr Annabel Latham – 2023 IEEE Region 8 Outstanding Women in Engineering Section Volunteer

IEEE UK and Ireland Section congratulates Dr Annabel Latham on being named as the 2023 IEEE Region 8 Outstanding Women in Engineering Section Volunteer.

Commenting on her success, Annabel said:

I am delighted and honoured to be awarded the 2023 IEEE Region 8 Outstanding Women in Engineering Section Volunteer Award. It is important to me that my work, the work of the UKI WIE committee and the support of the UK and Ireland Section has been highlighted and recognised in Region 8.

I’ve been passionate about attracting more girls and women into tech for two decades and supporting women’s success and careers in engineering.  The birth of my daughter prompted me to change careers from industry into academia with the hope that I could have more impact on young computer scientists. I’m a strong believer that computer science and engineering can deliver a better future, and a more diverse and balanced workforce is a critical part of this. As Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at Manchester Metropolitan University and a UK STEM Ambassador, it has been most fun and rewarding to mentor young women and give talks, organise activities and take part in outreach to many different groups.

I have been a WIE member since 2008, volunteering in the Computational Intelligence Society, including being an active member of Women in Computational Intelligence committee. I was elected Vice-Chair of WIE UKI in 2015, when I worked with the Chair Prof Keeley Crockett to revitalise the UK and Ireland section WIE group. Soon the WIE committee had grown to 8 members and was delivering a series of talks, workshops and events in schools, colleges, museums and universities to promote the uptake of engineering and challenge stereotypes. On being elected Chair of WIE UK Ireland in 2019, the committee was restructured to make better use of volunteers’ time and give strategic focus within the very broad remit of WIE. The Award of IEEE Region 8 Women in Engineering Affinity Group of the Year 2019 brought recognition to the Section and the WIE group. When the pandemic restricted face-to-face and school activities, our WIE activities focused on other target groups (students and young professionals) where online events were a benefit to participation and gave us greater reach.

I’d like to thank the supportive, collegiate WIE committee across the years and know we will continue to encourage and advocate for women engineers with the full support of the UK Ireland section. I’m so privileged to have been able to work with some amazing people to try to change the face of engineering and computer science. There’s still a long way to go but the combined energies of so many fantastic people is a powerful force!

The award was accepted on Dr Latham’s behalf by UK and Ireland Section Chair, Izzet Kale, at the 2023 Sections Congress in Ottawa, Canada.