Our Keynote Speaker for our London Community event is Roma Agrawal, also known as 'Roma the Engineer'! Roma is a chartered structural engineer based in London. She has worked on several major engineering projects including the Shard. She is also an acitive diversity campaigner, championing women in engineering.
Roma grew up in Ithaca and Mumbai and moved to London to complete her A-Levels in Design and Technology, Physics, Maths and Further Maths at North London Collegiate School. In 2004 she gained a BA in physics from the University of Oxford, and in 2005 an MSc in Structural Engineering from Imperial College London. Agrawal attributes her enthusiasm for engineering to her love of making (and breaking) things, cultivated by playing with Lego as a child.
Agrawal attributes her entry into engineering to a summer placement at the Oxford Physics Department where she worked alongside engineers who were designing particle detectors at CERN.
In 2005 Agrawal joined WSP on a graduate program, becoming a chartered engineer with the Institution of Structural Engineers in 2011. She spent six years working on the tallest building in Western Europe, the Shard, designing the foundations and the iconic spire. She describes the project as a career highlight: "I think projects like that only come once or twice in your career, so I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on this".
The 1,016-foot (310 m) tall structure required a top-down construction methodology, which had never been done before on a building of this scale.The spire required modular construction that could be built and tested off-site, enabling quick and safe assembly at height in central London.
Alongside the Shard, Agrawal worked on Crystal Palace Station and the Northumbria University Footbridge.She worked for WSP for ten years before joining Interserve as a Design Manager in November 2015 In May 2017 Agrawal joined AECOM as an Associate Director.
In 2013, she was voted one of Management Today's Top 35 Women Under 35. Roma Agrawal is an advocate for a more diverse engineering workforce and alongside other initiatives has sat on the Diversity Panel of the Construction Industry Council. Agrawal raises awareness through social media, podcasts and interviews. After being a finalist herself in 2012 she was a keynote speaker at the IET's Young Women Engineer of the Year award ceremony in 2016, and is listed as one of the top Inspiring Women in Engineering by the Women's Engineering Society.
You can visit Roma's website to find out more information here.