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WGU Lecturer mentors students to STEM awards success

A Lecturer in Product Design and Engineering at Wrexham Glyndwr University (WGU) helped college students win a national award for designing, engineering, and producing a community-led solution to a problem, with a strong emphasis on sustainability and the environment.

Daniel Knox, Programme Leader and Lecturer in Product Design at WGU, supported a team of sixth-form students from Coleg Menai and Coleg Meirion Dwyforin winning the Best Use of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) for Sustainability and the Environment Award, as part of the Engineering Education Scheme Wales (EESW). 

Daniel mentored the six students – Amelia Davie, Cilan Garbutt, Gwern Williams, Heledd Owen, Tesni Pari-Jones and Gwenllian Jones – who were set a scenario-based project to design, engineer and produce a community-led solution to several challenges faced by people in El Alto, South America, which will improve their day-to-day living. To do this, they considered the area and what resources of material are locally available, as well as labour and natural reserves. 

As part of the project, the students soon realised that the most pressing issue that residents of El Alto faced was cleanliness of water and water shortages. 

It was then that the team quickly got underway with the design process of their solution – a desalination device that would take advantage of El Alto being a coastal town, which would allow them to obtain clean water and eventually pave the way to substantial change for the community, such as economic growth due to increased abilities to become self-sustaining with personal crop growth. 

The team were announced as winners of the category at a special awards ceremony, which took place recently at Venue Cymru, Llandudno.

Daniel said he was “immensely proud” of the students’ hard work – and said that although this was a scenario brief task, there could be scope for their work to form the basis of a funded solution in the future. 

He said: “Congratulations to the Coleg Menai and Coleg Meirion Dwyfor sixth-form students on winning the Best Use of STEM for Sustainability and the Environment Award.It’s fantastic to see young minds using their skills to make a positive impact on the world.

“As their mentor from Product Design and Engineering at WGU, I had the pleasure of guiding the students through the design and engineering process over a six-month period, helping them develop their ideas and turn them into reality.

“It was inspiring to see their passion for sustainability and the environment, and I am proud of the hard work and dedication they put into this project from such a young team.

“I have no doubt that these students have a bright future ahead of them and I am excited to see what they will achieve next within the world of Product Design and Engineering.”

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