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Aviation Impact Accelerator Student's Work Experience

Aviation Impact Accelerator Student's Work Experience

What is the Aviation Impact Accelerator?    

The Aviation Impact Accelerator (AIA) is a team convened by the University of Cambridge to work with a range of practitioners and academics to ‘accelerate the transition to carbon-neutral flight.’ The team includes Jenifer Elmslie, an alumna of St Mary's, and their mission is to:  

“Accelerate the journey to sustainable aviation by developing evidence-based tools that allow people to map, understand, and embark on the pathways towards sustainable flight. “  

- (Aviation Impact Accelerator - University of Cambridge)  

This project was created because, despite numerous discussions about reducing CO2 emissions, more needs to be done to see greater global changes to help eliminate the fast-approaching, if not undeniably already present, effects of climate change.  

In 2020 the AIA was launched following a series of discussions hosted by The Prince of Wales. Ambitious academics and business leaders contributed to initial meetings, and now the project has gathered data from over 60 contributors and 80 companies. From this broad range of academic minds small teams have formed to investigate multiple aspects of different systems, one of which being aviation. In August of this year, a collaboration between The Royal Air Force and AIA  was announced specifically to help accelerate the aviation net zero sector. This partnership will ensure the development of their future aircraft systems. Demonstrating AIA’s engagement in a variety of different pathways, projects and partnerships like these will allow a positive evolution of ideas for the future. 

Our Students’ Experience  

Over the summer break, three of our Sixth Form students successfully secured work experience opportunities with AIA. Before starting, they prepared presentations about themselves and the topics they found fascinating. Each student's presentation covered a wide range of diverse topics which displayed their ambitions in their preferred areas.  

Their work experience began with a tour of the Whittle Laboratory, Cambridge, a world-leading turbomachinery research centre. The tour, given by the Whittle staff members, enabled students to get a firsthand look into some of the new innovative technology that is being developed. 

Emmi B., Sixth Former and Head Girl, explained:  

“One of the highlights of the tour was our visit to the high-speed wind tunnels, where we got to witness the remarkable equipment used for aerodynamic testing. We had the opportunity to discuss the properties of an optimal wing shape, particularly emphasising the significance of a low Reynolds Number in reducing drag caused by turbulent airflow.”  

Their tasks on subsequent days focused on investigating the effectiveness of some of the policies around reducing landfill waste, in addition to conducting basic data analysis, which revealed the importance of efficient waste management, alongside discussions around matters such as the impact greenhouse gas emissions are having on our planet.  

Sally M., Sixth Former, said:

“I really recommend this opportunity to others. It not only offers a wealth of learning experiences but also provides valuable insights into what it is like to work in this exciting and field. I am immensely grateful to St. Mary’s for supporting me in gaining this exceptional opportunity.”  

St Mary’s STEM Opportunities  

Jennifer E., an alumna of St. Mary's, played a pivotal role in the development of this remarkable project. This serves as a wonderful example of alumnae contributing to the progress of current students within our St Mary's network, which spans 64 different countries.  

Projects like these require aspirational thinkers who are dedicated to their work and cause profound change in the world. Opportunities like these inspire so many of our students, giving them unique opportunities to gain practical experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers. We have many courses and extra-curricular activities that support and encourage our girls to pursue STEM.

Learn more about our STEM offering.