Above image: UKESF Scholar attendees with guest speaker Piers Linney (centre)

On 9th December 2021 the UKESF attended the annual TechWorks Awards & Gala Dinner, London, and announced the winners of the Scholar of the Year Award.

We had three tables at the event, one of which was kindly donated by Trustee Neil Dickins (Founder/Director, IC Resources). Our guests included three UKESF Trustees, nine former and current UKESF Scholars (including past winners of the Scholar of the Year Award and other UKESF competitions), as well as various representatives from some of the companies and organisations we partner with.

Oana Lazar (Southampton/Tessent Embedded Analytics, part of Siemens [formerly UltraSoC]) was awarded the 2021 Scholar of the Year, with David Kong (Edinburgh/onsemi) named runner-up. Many thanks to IC Resources, who sponsor the award. Three other Scholars were Highly Commended: Leon Brindley (Southampton/Qualcomm), Nishika Chettry (Aston/Renesas) and James Mutumba (Surrey/EDA Solutions).

Neil Dickins, Oana Lazar, David Kong, Stew Edmondson

Oana is a final-year student on a Masters of Electronic Engineering course at the University of Southampton. As well as exceeding expectations during her 12-month placement with Tessent Embedded Analytics, the Award judges applauded Oana’s exceptional academic performance, her technical skills and her advocacy for women in engineering. Oana was Highly Commended for this Award in 2020 and named runner-up in our Automotive Electronics Competition the same year. She also received Southampton Hub’s first ever ‘Southampton Hub Values Award’, and has been put forward by Tessent’s VP of Engineering, and Siemens’ Senior Director of Portfolio Strategy, to represent Tessent for the Global Semiconductor Alliance‘s ‘Female Up and Comer Award’.

“The UKESF Scholarship Scheme has quite literally changed my entire life. Therefore, it is an absolute honour and a true pleasure to receive the 2021 UKESF Scholar of the Year Award.

“I would like to thank my fantastic sponsoring company, Tessent Embedded Analytics (Siemens), whose brilliant Engineers have given me the best possible introduction to the industry. Through my 12-month industrial placement as part of my Master’s at the University of Southampton, I have discovered the immense breadth of opportunities available to Electronics Engineers and I have discovered my true calling as an Embedded Software Engineer.

“There could not be a better time to get involved with the Electronics industry than now, and there could not be a better way of doing so than through the UKESF.”
Oana Lazar, Scholar of the Year 2021

Click HERE to read Oana’s full quote in her guest blog post.

“Oana interned with the Siemens DISW Embedded Analytics team for the 2020-2021 year. In a very short time, we forgot she was an intern: she has been assigned significant, complex tasks, and has taken full ownership of those tasks, driving them through to completion.

“COVID has made life difficult for interns: much of the value of internships to the intern is found in ‘sitting behind the shoulder’ of more senior colleagues. Remote working makes this much harder and requires a level of self-reliance and commitment to get the best out of this. Oana’s entire year with us was done remotely, but throughout her time she remained committed to work and never lost focus on her responsibilities to deliver to a level of quality that far exceeded our expectations from her.

“In addition to this, Oana led the ‘Invent Plus’ project at her university, finding volunteers and funding to distribute activity packs to 600 9th grade girls to Electronic, Acoustical, and Mechanical engineering through building circuits from scratch on breadboards (again all remotely), and is now the president of Southampton Hub, an organisation that supports students to volunteer in placements in the local community.”
Jonathan Lucas, Engineering Director (Software), Embedded Analytics, Siemens Electronic Design Automation Ltd

“I’m delighted to hear that Oana has been named Scholar of the Year 2021, particularly after she was Highly Commended for the award last year. She is an excellent example of the many intelligent, motivated and inspirational students who are UKESF Scholars, and I’m thrilled that her success continues the long history of Southampton students receiving the award!”
Prof Geoff Merrett, Head of Centre for IoT and Pervasive Systems, Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton

“During my time as a UKESF Scholar, I have met so many talented engineers and I’m very happy to have been selected for the award. Many thanks to onsemi, my sponsoring company, who have provided me with some amazing placements where I have had the opportunity to complete projects in firmware, modelling, digital and analogue IC design for some truly state-of-the-art automotive image sensors.”
David Kong, runner-up Scholar of the Year 2021

“After an absence of two years because of the pandemic, it was fantastic to have such a great live, in person, awards ceremony, bringing together our Trustees, sponsors and partners to recognise and celebrate the success of some fantastic young engineers and Electronics students. They are the future of our profession. I was delighted that last year’s finalists were able to join us, so that we were able to recognise and acknowledge their achievements.”
Stew Edmondson, CEO, UKESF