I am a third-year Biomedical Engineering student studying at Queen Mary University of London and the President of Engineers Without Borders QMUL Chapter. Last year, as a vice president I was able to understand the aims of Engineers Without Borders UK in depth before taking the lead myself and implementing changes based on the feedback received from our members.

My role as a President is to ensure all the projects and events run successfully and that the goals of the society are met. I am grateful to have a lovely team working with me this year, who are just as enthusiastic as I am about engineering and international development.

The structure of the society is based on weekly meetings every Wednesday where we carry out group projects based on member interests. This year, we have four different projects running simultaneously which are split between around 50 Chapter and committee members.

One of our projects is the algae removal project. At Queen Mary, we have a canal running through the campus and during the summer algae covers the surface of the water. This is harmful for the living organisms in the water as the algae blocks sunlight from reaching the bottom of the canal. Our challenge is to create a device that cleans up the algae without affecting the animals, fish and plants in the water. Other projects that we are running include creating renewable energy power sources to increase the use of sustainable energy around the campus, for example solar powered charging docks. We also have plans to create a system to use food compost to create sustainable energy.

EWB QMUL is open to students from all disciplines and backgrounds, so we ensured we created a project with less focus on the design selection process. In our fouth project, all the instructions and design procedure are explained more explicitly so students who are interested in creating/manufacturing products can follow the instructions and create a smart plant pot which will be distributed around the university to promote greenness.

We have also recently carried out outreach sessions at a preparatory girl’s school where committee and Chapter members went to promote sustainable engineering and help young students consider STEM subjects. Our aim this year is to carry out more sessions like this as I believe raising awareness of sustainable engineering and the diversity in engineering should start from a young age. Additionally, we are planning on holding fundraising events later in the year to raise money and promote the work of Engineers Without Borders UK in our local area.

Personally, I have recently joined a social enterprise called The Washing Machine Project founded by Nav Sawhney who is on the Board of Trustees of Engineers Without Borders UK and a Queen Mary Alumni. The aim of the project is to reduce the burden of hand washing clothes in countries where access to electricity and water is limited. I am currently helping as a design engineer to manufacture prototypes which will be sent out for testing soon. This is a great role to have alongside my university life and EWB QMUL, as I am able to have an impact on people not just locally but on a global scale!

Watch Adiba in conversation with chief executive Katie Cresswell-Maynard for This is Engineering Day.