24 June 2024
by Sarah Morgan

Engineering diversity campaigner to be awarded Rooke Award

Engineer, author and TV presenter Dr Shini Somara is to receive one of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s top awards.

Dr Shini Somara © AirTV

Somara will receive the Rooke Award (named after the former industrial titan Sir Denis Rooke) for her “exceptional efforts” in promoting engineering at the Academy Awards dinner in London on 9 July.

Somara was recently announced as the presenter of Masters of Reinvention, a six-part series for the factual channel Yesterday on UKTV Play, to be produced by Air TV.

Her latest book Engineers Making a Difference, published last year and distributed to 16,000 secondary schools across the UK, celebrates the diversity of the engineering profession. She produces and hosts multiple podcasts and other digital media content aimed at promoting underrepresented groups and women in STEM.

With a career spanning over two decades, Somara has significantly influenced the engineering landscape, particularly in inspiring young people and marginalised groups to pursue STEM careers.

Her popular YouTube series, Crash Course Engineering and Crash Course Physics, have collectively garnered nearly 60 million views and been incorporated into educational syllabi, amplifying their impact.

A graduate of Brunel University London, she holds an engineering doctorate in computational fluid dynamics and a first-class honours degree in mechanical engineering.

She currently serves as Pro Chancellor of Brunel University.

Nominating Somara for the Rooke Award, Dawn Bonfield MBE FREng, Professor of Practice in Engineering for Sustainable Development at King’s College London, says, ‘Dr Shini Somara has worked consistently over 20 years to change the face of engineering.

'As a female engineer from an ethnic minority, she has created multiple engagement mechanisms across multiple platforms to inspire our next generation of engineers, and the impact of her work has been significant and far-reaching.’

Dr Somara says: ‘Receiving The Rooke Award is a huge honour and terrific recognition of my 20-year engineering journey, which began with improving thermal building simulation and later evolved to improving the public perception of our sector as a whole. 

'Sustainability drives me, both environmental and social.  My work is partially guided by a deep academic interest but mostly steered by my own personal experiences in industry. 

'Engineers are society’s unsung superheroes, and it is my hope that in communicating the good in what we do, we may inspire and welcome engineers of diverse and inclusive talent, to tackle the broad range of inevitable challenges that lay ahead.’