Elizabeth-Watson_800_400_croppedLiz Watson (Engineering Science, 1972) has won the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) lifetime achievement after a 40 year career with engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce.

After graduating from Somerville in 1975, Liz started her career at Rolls-Royce at age 22. She won an award for the most promising young engineer in the company, and later became the first woman to work as chief engineer on a Rolls-Royce engine.

On winning the award, Elizabeth said, “I am absolutely delighted to win the award and feel honoured to have this recognition from WISE. There are many people who have helped me during my career and I want to use the award to encourage more women into Science and Engineering and help them achieve whatever it is they set their mind to.”

Liz was unable to accept the award at the ceremony in November as she was on holiday in Mexico. The award was presented by the WISE royal patron, Princess Anne. “Wise is not asking anyone to make a special case for women,” the princess said at the ceremony. “Our aim is to break through the stereotyped image of the kind of people who work in science, technology and engineering so that it becomes a career of choice for more people.”

A video of the shortlist for the 2015 WISE Lifetime Achievement Award is available to watch on YouTube. In the video, Liz explains how she came to study engineering at University. At school, she excelled in physics, chemistry and maths and her colleagues, who were mainly boys, were doing engineering at university.

“Anything they could do I could do. And so I did engineering as well, not really knowing what I was getting myself into. I never regretted it for a moment. It’s been a joy from start to finish.”

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