Edinburgh Hyperloop diary: Driving diversity

Nadezda Avanessova and Maisie Edwards-Mowforth of the Edinburgh University HYPED team highlight some of the stimuli of being part of a student project to develop Hyperloop technology.


Engineering is sadly sometimes seen as a male discipline. Female engineers are outnumbered in the workplace and at university, and it is not uncommon for women to be extremely under-represented on several courses. At HYPED we really care about this imbalance and so we’ve worked hard to ensure that not only are we focusing on our end goal but we’re also working together across the disciplines, genders and experience levels to produce a truly diverse team of students. And becoming part of the HYPED team gives younger students excellent role models and something to aspire to, in turn increasing the diversity of people working in engineering after graduation. We’re also working on an exciting outreach project, hoping to go into schools and colleges to talk about HYPED to a brand new generation of budding engineers.

One of the amazing things about being part of the Edinburgh Hyperloop team is the ability to work alongside students who are younger, older, more experienced, less experienced and in many cases with completely different life experiences and skill sets. It also gives you the opportunity to build relationships with lecturers and academics who you might not normally meet.

Juggling our Edinburgh academic work with the schedules of HYPED can be very challenging! It’s important therefore that the HYPED team works really well together so that we can pre-empt each other’s schedules and anticipate possible pinch points. Part of this juggling gives us great insight into what working in a team means and will stand us in good stead in the workplace. We all have our own areas of responsibility, otherwise we might leave the project exposed with bits of work not completed. Sometimes this is hard work as we need to factor in time to do our coursework, attend lectures and have some downtime too, but it’s this sense of camaraderie that keeps us coming back.

We’re also being exposed to the normal rigours of engineering – success and failure on both a small and large scale. It’s been great for our development, learning when to compromise and when to stand fast on an idea. Creativity, practicality and inspiration form the pillars of what we are trying to achieve but it’s not unexpected that stress, lessons and seemingly impossible roadblocks are recurring themes too! Learning to handle challenges, working hard and keeping an eye on the end goal are what get us through. And we’re all so proud of what we’ve achieved so far, we’ve travelled to the USA and we’re making history. What’s not to love?

Read more about HYPED on the website of project sponsor RS Components.