Anna Hart wins Electronics Weekly ‘Bright Sparks’ Award

Edinburgh Graduate Electronics Engineer Anna Hart was recently announced as a winner of the Electronics Weekly ‘Bright Sparks’ Award, which recognises the talent of some of the brightest young electronics engineers working in the UK today.

The awards look to acknowledge the potential of young engineers who are making a difference in the first years of their working lives, where they have demonstrated promising indications that they may go on to become the people behind big future innovations in electronics.

Electronics Weekly was set to celebrate the awards in what would be their sixtieth year of existence. However, the ceremony had to be postponed until later in the year due to coronavirus. Here Anna describes her journey from her initial application, to finally learning she had been chosen as a winner.

07 April 2020

“In January I saw the advertisement online and thought I might as well apply – with a sense of certainty that I wouldn’t be picked, after reading the extensive statement on award criteria.

You had to answer various questions about your reasons for being suitable for the award such as achievements, problems overcome, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) work and community engagement.

What struck me at the beginning of the application process was how uncomfortable I felt listing my achievements, but I pressed on and got myself into a space where I felt I could talk about positive things I’d done.

I was able to talk about my time at university when I was involved in various mentoring schemes to support undergraduate students with their studies and going out to local high schools to encourage pupils to consider a career in STEM subjects, specifically engineering.

I also talked about my achievement of gaining ‘The Edinburgh Award’, a recognition scheme for University of Edinburgh students, which helps you to reflect on your experience so that you can develop skills that increase your employability. This turned out to be good preparation for the STEM activities I later participated in at Leonardo, since it made me naturally look to find ways to introduce transferrable skills which could help young people in the world of work, like peer learning, team work and communication.

Working as a STEM ambassador representative for my graduate year at Leonardo, I was given the opportunity to mentor for the Engineering Development Trust’s Go4SET project at Tynecastle High School, support work experience for school pupils at Leonardo and join a team of three other graduates to deliver what turned out to be a really enjoyable five-week space-themed programme of weekly lessons at Pirniehall Primary School. I think hands-on activities have a lot of value for children, as it is a form of instant visual learning and this was also the case when I helped out at another local children’s event supporting children in making their own enigma coding machines using packets of Pringles.

A few days ago I received an unexpected but amazing email to say that I’d been selected as a winner. I think it was particularly meaningful given the current situation when we are all adjusting to so much change.

I hope me being selected for this award encourages many others to put themselves forward. We have so many brilliant engineers here at Leonardo and I’m proud to work with them."